Sunday, September 6, 2015

Wolf people appeals to high court

Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2015
COCOLALLA — Wolf People is appealing its wildlife exhibition license suspension to the Idaho Supreme Court.
The litigation stems from an Idaho Department of Fish & Game licensing action against the wolf education enterprise. The state suspended Wolf People's exhibition license for failing to comply with a 2012 consent agreement.
The agreement resolved 43 license violations, which included failing to report the escape of a captive wolf and transporting wolves with out permission. The overarching goal of the agreement, however, was to curb Wolf People's practice of allowing guests to touch wolves, according to Fish & Game records.

The agreement called for the installation of additional barriers to thwart guest contact with wolves and for Wolf People to secure a performance bond to foster compliance with the pact.

Wolf People, which argued the agreement did not expressly prohibit guests' direct contact with the wolves, petitioned for a judicial review of the licensing action.

Wolf People's counsel, Coeur d'Alene attorney Arthur Bistline, contended the license suspension amounted to a criminal penalty and Wolf People was working with Fish & Game to secure the performance bond when its license was clipped.

Second District Judge Jay Gaskill, however, rejected those arguments and ruled in June that Wolf People's due-process rights had not been violated during the license proceedings.

Wolf People is reiterating its earlier arguments to the state's high court on appeal, court records show. Bistline filed a notice of appeal on Aug. 18.

The suspension of Wolf People's license was stayed amid the litigation.