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Reps. Young and Miller in Dog Fight Over Wolves

Conservative Rep. Don Young of Alaska and liberal California Rep. George Miller are going at it like wolves. Actually, like dogs and wolves. And the question, as Young sees it, comes down to: Who do you love more - dogs or wolves?

Young thinks Miller's bill to protect wolves from aerial hunting is, well, a sheep in wolves' clothing. What Miller calls the "Protect America's Wildlife Act," Young derides as the "Wolves Are Cute Act." He says by protecting wolves, Miller's bill would help predatory wolves continue killing pet dogs and other wildlife across his home state.

The Alaska congressman has been sending shockingly graphic e-mail letters to his colleagues with gory photos of dog carcasses, the victims of killer wolves, similar to the tactics of extreme anti-abortion literature. One of his "Dear Colleague" e-mails sent last month featured a photo too gruesome to share of a Chesapeake Bay retriever named Chesie who Young said was so viciously attacked by wolves that all that was left of her "was a couple chunks of collar sitting on top of three or four pieces of intestine." (And that's a dead-on description from the looks of the grotesque photo Young attached of the maimed dog, whose head and face was the only body part still intact.)


Buddy the dog.

"These facts aren't pretty, but they're facts," Young wrote, "and should Rep. Miller's bill become law, more dogs will meet Chesie's tragic fate."

This week, another e-mailed letter from Young features Buddy, the beloved 10-year-old Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever of one of his constituents who was ripped to shreds by wolves. This time Young spared his colleagues a graphic photo, choosing instead to include this cute picture of Buddy in happier times.

And in his letter Young proposed a solution to resolve the dog vs. wolves conflict: Let's send Miller to the wolves.

Since Congressman Miller "seems to have such a deep love for wolves...I propose that Defenders use that money to gather Alaska's surplus wolves and safely transport them to the seventh district of California."

Yes, that would be Miller's district, in the East Bay of San Francisco.

"This proposal is a win-win for everyone, and I would suggest my colleagues present it to Defenders of Wildlife representatives roaming the Capitol this week," Young wrote.

Miller wasn't as amused by Young's proposal as others on the Hill. His spokeswoman, Puja Patel, told us earlier this week: "Americans love dogs, but they detest the cruel treatment of wolves. Alaska's aerial hunting program is a blatant effort to skirt federal law. Fortunately, Mr. Young's letters are helping us build overwhelming bipartisan support for Miller's PAW Act."

And in case anyone wondered, Patel added, "Mr. Miller is a dog lover and has owned several dogs over the years."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  January 18, 2008; 12:00 PM ET
 
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Comments

Tugging at heartstrings is usually the last resort of a congresscritter with an unsustainable argument, as is certainly the case here. You live in ALASKA. There are wolves there. If you want to keep a pet in the wilderness, be responsible and keep it protected - either indoors or behind a fence. If you choose not to accept that responsibility, don't cry to Uncle Sam for permission to slaughter a species just because nature happened.

Posted by: Tim B | January 18, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

well, young is going to have his corrupt ass handed to him on a platter soon enough, but really. what an idiot. can he be more of a dolt? like Tim B says above, you can't just slaughter a species because it happens to be there. wolves live in alaska. why don't we round up all the white people who live there and move them to california's seventh. they're the predators, they're the invaders.

Posted by: IMGoph | January 18, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

what's with the gayness on this blog?

Posted by: doggy style | January 18, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm from Alaska and I don't live around wolves. Let congressman Young worry about wolves in our state, as Miller should about illegal aliens in California. Miller was elected by his congressional district trusting his abilities to manage their needs. Why is it different for us when our congressman has concerns over management of number of wolves in Alaska. We are the best managers of our resources. We definitely don't like when another person living thousands of miles away tell us, "my way is better than yours". Congressman Miller, travel to Alaska, get your facts and opinions from us, go back to Washington and make your point!

Posted by: Howard | January 18, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm from Alaska and I don't live around wolves. Let congressman Young worry about wolves in our state, as Miller should about illegal aliens in California. Miller was elected by his congressional district trusting his abilities to manage their needs. Why is it different for us when our congressman has concerns over management of number of wolves in Alaska. We are the best managers of our resources. We definitely don't like it when another person living thousands of miles away tell us, "my way is better than yours". Congressman Miller, travel to Alaska, get your facts and opinions from us, go back to Washington and make your point!

Posted by: Howard | January 18, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

what's up with non-Alaskans and their Alaska-specific bills? How would they like it if Alaskas congressmen were running around passing bills that screwed around with their districts? the federal government shouldn't even be involved

Posted by: go away | January 18, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Akers, with all due respect, there is gaping hole in your reporting on this issue.

The question for George Miller is NOT "Who do you love more - dogs or wolves?" The REAL QUESTION is "Who do you love more - WOLVES OR PEOPLE?"

The real issue here is the impact wolves have on people. A rampant wolf population threatens the availability of the food sources- moose, caribou, etc. - many Alaskans depend on to feed themselves and their families (More wolves mean less moose, less caribou). The purpose of the predator control program is to ensure that wolves don't limit people's ability to put food on the table.

Unlike George Miller's district down in California, we don't have a Whole Foods on every corner, nor do many of us have the money to spend $30 on an organic, farm-raised cut of meat.

Rep. Young explains this in each of his letters, but understanding that people like George Miller care more about animals than people, it seems he thought it necessary to bring dogs into the debate in order to get people's attention.

Apparently, it worked. Unfortunately, all the attention went to the dogs.

Posted by: CaribouSteak | January 18, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Rep Miller, serious question: Wolves were native to your area. Why is it OK to have them run wild in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Alaska but not in California? The real answer is you live in California!

Posted by: bybybill | January 19, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we need to protect ALL life. Wolves need protection just as much as all the other creatures mentioned in this article. I belong to several animal rights and wildlife organizations. Man has altered the earth in many ways, some good and some harmful. Let us try to live together and use the resources wisely as the Native Americans did in earlier times.

Posted by: wwdmvician | January 19, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Rep. Miller seems to be another misanthropic greenie who cares more about varmints than man or man's best friend. I wonder what is the true agenda of those who seek the proliferation of the wolf and even its reintroduction into areas from which it has long ago been driven. We have legions of little wolves here in New Hampshire. I mean the coyotes that eat our pets and a substantial portion of our deer population. As a deer hunter, I would like to see them gone. The Rep. millers would no doubt have the wolf restored to our state. Rep. Miller's real agenda is likely anti-hunting at the least and anti-human at the worst.

Posted by: Bill Walsh | January 19, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Please, stop with the "we know better than you do."

Alaska is and will remain mostly Federal land. That land belongs to all Americans and as such, the Congress has every right to allow and limit certain activities on that land as they see fit. So please stop with all this talk that the people of Alaska know better ways of managing those lands then say someone from the lower 48.

If you are so concerned about the welfare of your pets, don't let them roam un-attended. You cannot do that in NYC, or anywhere else in the lower 48, so why would you think that you should be able to do that in land that is borderline wilderness?

I fully support Congressman Miller on this one.

Posted by: Brent | January 19, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

HEY BRENT:


Ever been to Alaska?

Know what it's like to live in a remote village in Bush Alaska, hundreds of miles away from any type of Whole Foods supermarket - you know, the kind on every other corner in NYC?

Ever heard of a honeybucket?

Do you have any clue whatsoever what it means to be a subsistence hunter and have to compete with a rampant wolf population in order to put food on the table for your family?

NO, YOU DON'T. SO KEEP YOUR LIBERAL NYC IGNORANCE TO YOURSELF.

READ MY EARLIER POST AND ANSWER THIS QUESTION: WHO DO YOU LOVE MORE -- WOLVES?.... OR PEOPLE?....

Posted by: CariboukSteak | January 19, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

BRENT:

I forgot to thank for trying to make an argument in which you liken Alaska to New York City. HAHAHAHA!

I truly appreciate you making it so easy to highlight your extraordinary IGNORANCE on this issue.

Good work, buddy. I don't think George Miller will be thanking you for that one.

Posted by: CaribouSteak | January 19, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

BRENT:

I forgot to thank for trying to make an argument in which you liken Alaska to New York City. HAHAHAHA!

I truly appreciate you making it so easy to highlight your extraordinary IGNORANCE on this issue.

Good work, buddy. I don't think George Miller will be thanking you for that one.

Posted by: CaribouSteak | January 19, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

The Protect America's Wildlife Act (PAW) is not an "Alaskan" bill. It is an "American" bill. It would enforce a law already on the books- the Federal Airborne Hunting Act of 1976. It would apply to Alaska, but it would also apply to the rest of the US where wildlife is, or is about to be under siege from the barbaric and inhumane practice of airborne hunting.

Rep. Young is being disingenuous with his premise regarding wolves and dogs. Aerial hunting of wolves and bears is a separate issue from the isolated incidents of dog and wolf interactions in Alaska, and would have no impact on these situations. The aerial hunting of wolves and bears is poor wildlife management policy by the state of Alaska which has been called into question by hundreds of respected scientists.

If Rep. Young wants to have a serious discussion about this issue, he should be prepared to bring some sound science to the table. However, it is unlikely that he could do this because the science is so stacked against him. So, he resorts to the smarmy politics he practiced during the reign of Tom Delay, Richard Pombo and the rest of their ilk.

It is time for Alaska to replace Don Young.

Posted by: Qwikman | January 20, 2008 1:38 AM | Report abuse

READ MY EARLIER POST AND ANSWER THIS QUESTION: WHO DO YOU LOVE MORE -- WOLVES?.... OR PEOPLE?....

I'm not Brent, but I'd be happy to answer this question. I'm quite fond of both. However, I have no love at all for people who run off at the mouth displaying their utter ignorance of the issues.

Alaska's mis-management of its natural resources is something that all Americans should be concerned about. As the poster above noted, this is not an 'Alaskan' bill, it is one that applies equally across all states.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 20, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Rep. Young should be concerned. The hunting lobby is about to lose its strangehold on wildlife management in Alaska, thanks, in small part, by a new video posted on current.com and being taken into consideration by Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo, the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans. This explosive new video blasts the justification for Alaska's current aerial wolf hunting program and rallies voters to end it. Using testimony from Alaska Department of Fish & Game staff, a master hunting guide, and Board of Game members themselves, this video exposes the fallacy behind Governor Sarah Palin's claim that predator control is based on sound science. Declarations that the program is for the benefit of subsistence hunters are shattered with documentation showing that sport and trophy hunters take up to 73% of prey in areas where aerial wolf hunting has taken place. Written, edited, and filmed by 26 year Alaska residents Dorothy Keeler and her husband, Leo, who was appointed to the Alaska Board of Game in 2000 by former Governor Tony Knowles, and five years in the making, this video exposes the truth about the stranglehold the hunting lobby has on wildlife management in Alaska, and challenges Congress to end it. http://current.com/items/88811075_end_aerial_wolf_hunting

Posted by: Dorothy Keeler | January 20, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

People in this blog are asking a lot of questions. One question not asked or discussed is this - Why did the Federal Government have to take the management of fish and game away from the State and establish federal regulations for hunting and fishing on federal lands? UNDER FEDERAL LAW, PEOPLE LIVING IN RURAL ALASKA (all people, not just native people), ARE TO HAVE PRIORITY IN HARVESTING FISH AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES. Alaska's game management system considers every hunter a subsistence hunter and does not allow a rural priority. Urban hunters and lobbyists have fought to prevent changes in Alaska's system to allow a rural priority for decades. So I wonder if those in this blog that say they need to kill wolves in order to meet their subsistence needs really live in rural areas, or if they are urban hunters who are trying to protect actions intended to make it easier for them have a successful hunt that they can tell their neighbor about. Many feel improving success ratios for urban hunters does not justify predator control.

Yes, I understand that most hunters use the meat they harvest, as I always have. But being dependent on it in rural Alaska is not the same as being what Alaska calls a "subsistence hunter" with a Wal Mart nearby.

Fearing the spread of aerial wolf hunting to the lower 48 states, people are asking for facts about the aerial wolf hunting program in Alaska. Some hope those facts will counter the proposed Protect America's Wildlife (PAW) Act. Few realize the PAW Act does not stop all aerial hunting, but requires it to be based on sound science, not just the wishes of the hunting lobby, a small vocal minority. (Less than 15% of all Alaskans hold a hunting license. ( http://www.adn.com/outdoors/hunting/story/9219177p-9135328c. html )

McGrath, Alaska, was ground zero for the startup of aerial wolf control and has had the most scientific studies of any area of the state. I was appointed to the McGrath Adaptive Management team assigned to find out why hunters were not finding enough Bull Moose to harvest. Studies of subsistence needs for just the McGrath area indicated the need to harvest 100-150 moose, which Fish and Game said required a population of 3,000-3,500 moose. Predation studies showed that bears were the main predators, and a study was done removing bears in the spring so more calves survived. That increased calf survival lasted until the next winter, which was more severe than normal, and most of surviving calves died because of weather, not predation.

Intense population studies were done at McGrath, rather than the general population trend survey that had been done for years. The good studies showed that there were between 2,800 and 3,200 moose in the area we desired to have 3,000-3,500, and it showed the core of the problem, the bull cow ratio, which should have been nearly 25 - 40 bulls per 100 cows was down to as low as 6 per 100. That ratio indicates over hunting. Over hunting was also indicated by the bulls having smaller antlers. (Look under Harvests - http://wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=hunting.moose and http://www.akwildlife.com/Page5.htm )

All this scientific information was set aside when Governor Murkowski came into office and appointed a new, very radical Board of Game. This Board is so radical, that I fear they will soon approve "DENNING" - the practice of killing wolf pups and bears and cubs while in their dens - just to increase urban hunter success ratios, without any real regard to helping those living in rural areas that have a higher dependence on natural resources.

If they want to show real concern for rural Alaskans, those crying wolf should be crying for better control of urban and trophy hunters and initiating permit systems that help guarantee bull cow ratios do not drop as low as they have near McGrath. I believe under a permit system there will be as much hunting opportunity as there is today, and very likely much higher success ratios. What will be given up is the ability to hunt anywhere you please and facing the hard choice of choosing an area to hunt in.

Posted by: Leo Keeler | January 20, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I'll believe that aerial wolf hunters are "subsistance hunters" when they actually EAT the wolves they kill.

Posted by: Luise Perenne | January 21, 2008 5:28 AM | Report abuse

So wolves will kill and exterminate Man and his personally protected pets unless they are exterminated.

Kinda makes one wonder how any of the wildlife and indigenous people of Alaska survived the onslaught, until Mssr. Colt, Remington, Smith and Wesson etc, arrived to save the day.

If the 300,000,000 Americans, 50,000,000 Canadians decided to "subsistence" Hunt for even 2 days I would venture that more hunters would 'buy it' than there is wildlife in Alaska.

Hunters' arguments are based on the notion that if there were no hunters there would be no food and that all wildlife would self-exterminate.

On our farm the land formerly kept as wildlife habitat is now being used to produce ethanol feedstock,FACE LIFE,that is the real challenge.


Posted by: Robert McGillen | January 21, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

This debate will never end, protecting the wolves is a nice idea but imagine that your favorite pet has been killed and devoured by wolves, what would your reaction be? in the vastness of Alaska I can't see why your pet should be enclosed or on a leash, dogs love to run. We can control our pets but wild wolves are part of nature. Let them be, cull them if they become hard to manage. Do we need Wolves?
If so Why.
let's fix the people's problems, so many haven't been fixed. Shoudn't we try?


Posted by: Paul Lipperty | January 21, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Aerial hunting no. There are other means of getting rid of wolves. People first! We have them in Minnesota and they are scary. I worry about my grandchildren. No cruelty allowed! Let us use some common sense. Peace to you today and everyday.

Posted by: Donna Graham | January 21, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Leo Keeler for a reasoned and informed contribution. There is no good argument for aerial hunting, and this is not an Alaskan issue, it includes the northern Rockies in the lower 48 also.
Having spent 30 years of our adult lives in a very rural area of our state, we learned that a coyote would come into our front yard even with us present, intending to have our 11 pound dog for breakfast. Our elkhounds were not threatened, but we knew to be cautious and responsible to protect smaller animals. I love Alaska, & know what a honeypot is, but if state hunting regulations do not hold back urban hunters, predator-prey proportions get unbalanced.
We lived in an area known for fall deer hunts. I don't fault true sportsmen, but we've seen careless, alcohol besotted, foolhardy hunters take over, with often scary results. We lost at least one cow every season, as did many ranchers, and we feared walking outside for hunters who literally shot at any sight or sound. (Gun safety classes are required!) All this, not from wild predators, but from stupid urban hunters.
The issue with this bill is whether the hunters' lobby holds the power. My husband & many other family and friends have been hunters & fishermen, but they show the integrity of the true sportsman.
Let's not pretend that most Alaskans are subsistence hunters!

Posted by: kalea | January 21, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

For more graphic pictures of wolf-killed pets and livestock, see

http://wolfcrossing.org/category/wolf-photos/

Posted by: Mike | January 22, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Akers -- HOW ABOUT POSTING A FOLLOW UP?.. WHO DOES GEORGE MILLER AND DEFENDERS LOVE MORE -- WOLVES OR HUMAN BEINGS?

Ms. Akers, with all due respect, there is gaping hole in your reporting on this issue.

The question for George Miller is NOT "Who do you love more - dogs or wolves?" The REAL QUESTION is "Who do you love more - WOLVES OR PEOPLE?"

The real issue here is the impact wolves have on people. A rampant wolf population threatens the availability of the food sources- moose, caribou, etc. - many Alaskans depend on to feed themselves and their families (More wolves mean less moose, less caribou). The purpose of the predator control program is to ensure that wolves don't limit people's ability to put food on the table.

Unlike George Miller's district down in California, we don't have a Whole Foods on every corner, nor do many of us have the money to spend $30 on an organic, farm-raised cut of meat.

Rep. Young explains this in each of his letters, but understanding that people like George Miller care more about animals than people, it seems he thought it necessary to bring dogs into the debate in order to get people's attention.

Apparently, it worked. Unfortunately, all the attention went to the dogs.

Posted by: CaribouSteak | January 18, 2008 07:16 PM

Posted by: CaribouSteak | January 22, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Here is another thought... If you dont live in Alaska, don't pretend to understand or make rules for those that live there. How very typical of a California liberal to to impose a feel good environmental policy on an issue that in no way effects her/him.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Also one other question. What is wrong with this aerial hunting? Exactly how is it cruel? Are wolves endangered in Alaska? Anyone?

Young may be taking the wrong approach, but if you can't answer questions why its wrong besides it is wrong then perhaps you should rethink your stance.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Most of Alaska and most of its wildlife belong to all of the people of the Unites States not just Alaskans.

Posted by: James Bowen | January 23, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

It is amazing really how people that will never even see Alaska want to order the residents around. 11,000 wolves in Alaska no is talking about exterminating them but thinning their numbers down. It is base on real facts thin the wolves down more moose and caribou. The wolves will still be there. The native Americans use to poison, trap, and hunt the wolves it is fact. You can not live in harmony with wolves or what ever Disneyland concept you have. Wolves attack people proven fact wolves have killed hundreds of North Americans in 1800's and early 1900's. The gullible believe a book that is fiction called Never Cry Wolf. Hello it is fiction not real, not true, Fiction. Real world wolves kill people to keep that from happening you need to hunt them. If you can't handle being a grown up and allowing hunting of wolves go ask your 1st grade teacher for help on how to deal with reality.

Posted by: Bruce | January 25, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree with previous poster about being a responsible pet owner and providing protection for your pet by keeping it indoors or within a fence. Mary -- www.angelashes.com

Posted by: Pet urn provider | March 28, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

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