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Senate Republican Office
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE, S-223
Salem, Oregon 97301
June 8, 2005
Democrats Block Local Management of Bear and Cougar Populations
“Whether you live in a rural or urban community, we have to be concerned about potential attacks on children”
SALEM – As more and more cougars are spotted closer to family homes, Senate Democrats today
blocked a bill that would have allowed individual counties to manage local predator populations. The
Senate refused to adopt amendments from the House to Senate Bill 389 authorizing county-wide votes
on an issue that is affecting a growing number of Oregon neighborhoods and communities.
“This bill is not about whether you support hunting or not,” stated Senator Jason A. Atkinson (R-
Central Point). “It simply allows rural counties to decide how to manage a growing problem.”
Republicans argued that different counties have different needs when it comes to the management of
dangerous predators in their local areas. The bill allows counties to vote and decide which
management tools to make available to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“Whether you live in a rural or urban community, we have to be concerned about potential attacks on
children,” stated Senator Jackie Winters (R-Salem).
“One night I was called to examine an 800 pound horse that was the victim of a ‘missed’ cougar
attack, it took me 4 hours and 2 blood transfusions to save this horse’s life,” stated Senator Doug
Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls) a veterinarian by trade. “If this was a missed attack on a horse, I can only
imagine what a cougar could do to a human.”
During the floor debate on the measure, many lawmakers relayed stories of cougars attacking both
people and livestock all over Oregon. State wildlife officials estimate the state’s current cougar
population at between 5,000 and 6,000, more than twice the number of a decade ago.
Senate Bill 389 also included a provision that would have banned shooting game over the internet in
Oregon. The bill failed on a party line vote with all Democrats voting against the amendments made
in the House.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM Pacific
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