Pro-wolf protesters talk with Gov. Butch Otter's secretary after they chained a member's arm to the door of the governor's office on Monday. (Betsy Z. Russell)
A half-dozen pro-wolf activists from around the country demonstrated at the Idaho Statehouse today, and a woman from Virginia chained herself to the door of the governor’s office, demanding that Gov. Butch Otter respond to the group’s concerns. Otter, ironically, was in Virginia.
Members of the Wolf and Wildlife Action Group, or WWAG, said Idaho should spend its state money to fund education, not to kill wolves. Karen Hall, an activist from Wisconsin, said the group has staged similar actions in Wisconsin, Montana and Wyoming; the activists included one from Chubbuck, Idaho, and others from Wisconsin, Missouri, Colorado and Michigan. “We try to go to the statehouses in the wolf-killing states,” Hall said. The group is also calling for banning wolf trapping, calling the practice cruel.
Members rallied outside the Capitol with signs and megaphones, then marched into Otter’s office, where secretary Claudia Simplot-Nally cheerfully complied with their request for a signature and date stamp on their message to Otter, which charges he’s violating a United Nations charter regarding nature. But when the group went out into the hallway and chained the arm of a member to the door, Nally told them that wasn’t permitted. Idaho State Police officer Jon Vance delivered the same message shortly thereafter. “You can sit anywhere you want in here, but you just can’t be chained,” he told the group. “You’re welcome to set up anywhere you want in the building – you just can’t be blocking the door.”
Hall said members of the group are willing to be arrested, and she said she was arrested in a similar protest last summer, but Vance said he’d only move to arrests as a “last resort.” He said, “It’s not really necessary.”
State lawmakers this year voted 29-5 in the Senate and 53-16 in the House to allocate up to $400,000 to kill problem wolves in Idaho this year, which particularly drew the group’s ire; Otter signed the bill into law in April.