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Eye On Olympia

Posts tagged: livestock

And the award for needlessly panicking pet owners across the state goes to…

Whoever wrote this summary of Senate bill 5870. It summarizes the bill like this:

Declares it is the duty of the sheriff or any deputy
sheriff to kill any dog found running at large (after the first
day of August of any year and before the first day of March in
the following year) without a metal identification tag.
(Note: Someone apparently read this post, because it’s now been corrected. But here’s what the original version looked like.)

A free-fire zone on all unlicensed Fidos? Holy cow! Who would dare propose such a thing?


Weirdly, the bill digest above isn’t even for SB 5870. It’s a mischaracterization of a completely different dog bill, SB 5200.

The provision listed above has been in Washington’s lawbooks for nearly a century. Lawmakers want to REPEAL the antiquated law. Here’s the bill report for SB 5200 and here’s the complete bill itself. And if there’s any remaining doubt about the purpose of the bill, here’s recent testimony by its prime sponsor, Sen. Dale Brandland, R-Bellingham:

“You run across pieces of the law periodically, and you actually say to yourself, `I can’t believe this is still on the books.’ There should be no question about doing away with this section. It is clearly not something that the Legislature would authorize today.”

So no one’s gunning for Fluffy, despite the outraged blog posts out there. (Sample: “What if his collar comes off? Law enforcement will now be able to use him for target practice. It’s sick!”) We’ve started getting calls about the bill at our Spokane newsroom.

All of which brings me back to the original bill. What is SB 5870, really? It’s another cleanup bill, repealing an old section of law regarding pets killing livestock. From the bill report:

The requirement that a dog owner kill his or her dog within 48 hours of
receiving notification that the dog was found killing a domestic animal is repealed.

Again: repealed. But given  the astounding resilience of Senate bill 6900, a dead-on-arrival car-tax proposal last year that’s still trumpeted regularly on Internet sites as an imminent threat to red-blooded V-8 lovers everywhere, it’s probably safe to say that lawmakers will be getting email from outraged dog owners for months to come.

A new round of an old fight: water dispute pits cattle industry against environmental groups…

Environmentalists and cattlemen clashed Thursday over a decades-old law that allows largely unlimited pumping from wells – with no permit – as long as the water is used for livestock.

To ranchers, that’s a common-sense exception that helps agriculture and dates back many decades.

To environmental groups and some Indian tribes, it’s a glaring loophole that’s being wrongly applied to industrial-scale feedlots.

“We don’t have water left to be giving away exempt water rights in large quantities,” Spokane environmental attorney Rachael Paschal Osborn told state lawmakers Thursday. If the Legislature wants to encourage the cattle industry and feedlots, she said, “they can go out and buy a water right just like everyone else in this state.”

Of bacon, longhorns and seaweed-eating sheep…

Here’s the quiz:

a) Where does the cattle-calling nickname “Bossy” come from?
b) Why is bacon not so tasty anymore?
c) And what is the world’s only seaweed-eating sheep?

Find out all this — and much, much more — in three minutes of testimony by Sen. Ken Jacobsen, D-Seattle.

Driven by the same impulse that leads gardeners to cultivate old “heirloom” tomato varieties (among them: Mike Gregoire), Jacobsen is proposing a state recognition program for “heritage livestock and poultry breeds.”

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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