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Monday, September 8, 2014

Wolf Advocates Try to Arrest Gov. Otter Over Wolf Killing

Posted By on Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 4:45 PM

click to enlarge Protesters gathered in the governor's office on Sept. 8. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • Protesters gathered in the governor's office on Sept. 8.

Armed with signs of graphic wolf killings and leg-hold traps found on their property, Diane and Tim Steiner waited with five others at the bottom of the Statehouse steps to confront Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter. The group, called the Wolf and Wildlife Action Group, came together from Nebraska, Montana, Washington, Wisconsin and Colorado to arrest the governor with a citizen's warrant charging him with "crimes against nature." 

The Steiners live near the Idaho-Montana border on a ranch that's been passed through the family. They said they've watched wolves run right through their cattle herds and pay no attention to them. 

"We've never lost a calf," Diane Steiner said. "We've never even lost a cat to a wolf."

click to enlarge JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
But they said that after the wolves were delisted from the endangered species list, the numbers have dropped, and deer—free of the predator—have overrun their ranch. 

"They break fences, they eat the horses' hay, you can hardly drive to town without hitting one," she said.

The others had their own reasons for traveling to Idaho's capitol. For Lisa De Celles, she felt she was representing her tribe, the Blackfeet in Montana. Her native name is "Night Wolf," and she said her tribe shares a spiritual connection with the wolves.

"This is hurting us," she said. "If you take out one species, it will cause immense environmental damage. We are trying to stop it now. It's inhumane. It's horrifying. I can't not be here."

The group left the steps to confront the governor in his office, citizen's arrest warrant in hand. The warrant, which was a print-off, came from a friend of the group. Protest organizers weren't sure which judge issued it, since the signature wasn't legible.

They crammed into the governor's office with their large poster boards and asked to see him, but Otter had left for the day.

"He waited for you. He thought you were coming in around 1. He left at 2," the receptionist said.

"But we have a citizen's warrant for his arrest," said one of the protesters.

"Well you can't arrest him," the receptionist said, "because he's not here. Would you like to leave a message?"

Members of the group took turns telling her about their disgust of the state's wolf management program, and slipped out one-by-one.

The group stood in the hallway, shaking their heads, talking in angry whispers, accusing the governor of hiding from them. They weren't sure what to do next, and figured they would head home tomorrow morning.

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