OLYMPIA — Washington will set up a special fund to pay for losses of livestock to the state's growing wolf population under a bill signed Tuesday.
The new law sets aside up to $50,000 each year from the money raised by selling personalized license plate for losses from wolves. It also allows farmers and ranchers to be compensated for all animal losses, not just for animals being raised for commercial purposes under the previous law.
Senate Bill 5193, sponsored by Sen. John Smith of Colville, was a key to expansion of Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations that allow property owners to shoot a wolf that is attacking livestock or pets.
The Legislature debated several plans to control wolves in Eastern Washington because the rapid growth in the formerly endangered animals' population as a result of successful recovery efforts.
“This is something where Washington state can really lead the nation in figuring out how to deal with the recovery process,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.