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Feeding wild animals could be prohibited

Thu., Feb. 5, 2009, 7:57 a.m.

OLYMPIA — The Washington House is considering a bill that would prohibit private citizens from feeding many wild animals — elk, deer, bears, raccoons, opossums, cougars, wolves, coyotes, wild turkeys and skunks.

Rep. Brian Blake of Aberdeen told The Olympian the goal is to prevent animals from becoming troublesome because they depend on people. He knows of one person who feeds 100 pounds of dog food a week to a large black bear.

An owner of the Eco Park Resort near Mount St. Helens, Mark Smith, feeds hay each day to as many as 100 elk. If the bill passes as written some of those elk would starve.

The state Fish and Wildlife Department feeds elk at nine stations that were created to help animals that lost their range to farms and ranches.

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