Yesterday I wrote TWO QUESTIONS, an article that appears [on this website]. An astute and well-informed reader in Europe wrote me the following response to that article:
By American law ..
I : = B
2 : = B
In other words, pups born as the result of the mating of a wolf and a dog are legally unprotected dogs and not protected wolves. This is true. Additionally, anyone that shoots, traps, injures, harasses such a DOG is not bound by any law concerning wolves but only those state and local Laws and Ordinances concerned with DOGS. This is also true.
However, I submit that today neither of these things are really true.
We throw around these reputedly “scientific”-based terms like wolf, dog and coyote like they are elephants, lemurs and kangaroos. While these latter THREE Species don’t look alike or eat the same things, they are absolutely, inexorably and basically different because THEY CANNOT MATE AND PRODUCE VIABLE (fully capable of and able to reproduce their own kind) OFFSPRING. Once upon a time for centuries and until very recently this capability to produce viable offspring was the defining characteristic determining, what was a distinct group of animals we defined as a Species. That is why mules (the offspring of a horse and a donkey that are not capable of producing viable offspring) are NOT a species, for instance. This definition of Species, while biological, has served us all well for centuries in myriad ways as we domesticated animals and managed wild animals for the benefit and protection of our families, communities and societies.
Enter the wolf and federal wolf laws and regulations.
In the late 1960’s, in the midst of great social chaos in the United States federal jurisdiction and authority over wild animals took major authorities from state governments under the auspices of “saving” endangered Species. This new federal authority steadily grew into previously unimaginable federal power to take and control private property; destroy formerly viable businesses; close public lands to any use or management or renewable natural resources; stop construction projects like dams and irrigation districts; eradicate valuable game animal herds; destroy local economies and communities; and even destroy the lives, families and livelihoods of rural men and women protecting their property and families from radically destructive government actions.
Early-on federal seizure and protection of remnant wolves as an endangered “Species” in Minnesota and subsequent releases of wolves in the Upper Rocky Mountains in a National Park and on an Indian Reservation (two locations that share the unique distinction of always having been outside and beyond state or surrounding local jurisdictions and their authority). Long story short, absent the federal “Endangered” Species Act, absent the absolute central government power it spawned largely due to federal bureaucrats writing and amending federal regulations to serve their own purposes plus the inattention of the public and state governments busy “Hoovering”- up (i.e. vacuuming or sucking-up) federal dollars with “strings” – were it not for all this – there would only be a remnant wolf population (and moose to hunt once again) in Minnesota and other than a few straggling wolves along the western Canadian/US border NO WOLVES IN THE LOWER 48 STATES today.
But, what is a wolf? Wolves breed with and produce viable offspring with all dogs, all coyotes PRODUCING VIABLE OFFSPRING. The genes of these three animals are in reality a stew of all manner of interbreeding from numerous wild encounters that have gone on for eons to the intentional crossbreeding by men to obtain more fearsome animals or animals with more stamina to do work like pulling sleds or any of a countless number of other human intentions lost in the mists of time.
Thus we in the Lower 48 States find ourselves fighting for our lives, families and livelihoods against a hostile (against humans) government with the outcome often hinging on points like:
– Was that a wolf you killed?
– Was it a wolf that killed your sheep?
– Is that a wolf hanging out where your kids play or catch the bus?
– Was that a wolf you were shooting at?
– Is that a wolf den with a wolf bitch and wolf pups “out back” of the pasture?
– What is your expertise to say it was not a wolf?
– You should have exercised due caution.
– Do you just shoot at anything?
– How could you have placed a snare like that where wolves were present?
– How do YOU tell a wolf from a German Shepherd or a large coyote?
– On what do you base YOUR expertise?
Ah, but you say “we have DNA Analysis” to identify wolves. HMMM, who sets the “Wolf” DNA Standard: The “Dog” DNA Standard: the “Coyote” DNA Standard? Is it the same “scientists” either employed by or funded in large measure by the federal government? “’It’ is a dog when ‘it’ has 30% of this and a coyote when it has 62% or more of that and a wolf when we say so”! Really?
DNA Analysis is perfectly suited for individual identification as shown daily by criminal investigators. But there is a great difference between tying someone’s DNA to the DNA found at a crime scene and the ARBITRARY standard that there is a genetic line and on one side we will call them wolves and on the other a dog and on yet another it is a coyote. Those are value judgments made by bureaucrats and the “scientists” they employ AFTER the fact of all these disputes arising from the forced introduction and protection of wolves. When such determinations determine prosecutions and great harm to citizens they are reminiscent of 19th century phrenologists describing the “criminal type”, or acolytes of Margaret Sanger describing the mentally-deficient that should be killed, or 1930’s racial “experts” describing those with Jewish “blood”.
None of that DNA specificity about wolves (in all their, like dogs, endless VARIETIES) is published in any regulation. That they can and do often look alike is undeniable. It is as if citizens were told that some deer had a gene resistant to Chronic Wasting Disease and they are totally protected but all the other deer, without the gene, should be killed to save the deer from the disease. The fact that they all looked alike and could only be identified after being killed was the shooter’s problem and if a warden found you with a deer THAT HAD THE GENE; you would be prosecuted, fined, imprisoned and have much of your property seized by the government. Distinguishing such deer is no different than relying on arbitrary government DNA Standards to identify real wolves! Such use of DNA findings is in fact (I speak here as an old state and federal law enforcement officer) DISCRETIONARY.
Forget that you thought it was a coyote or that you were sure it was a large dog that killed your dog or livestock. If I was the state or federal enforcer you wound up with and I was interested in:
– Ingratiating myself with environmental/animal rights zealots running my agency.
– Making an example of you to put the fear of (Gaia?) in others.
– Helping to rid the area of hunters, grazers, loggers, etc.
– Making a name for myself with a prosecution that engenders lots of publicity.
– Simply interested in proving how tough I am to both the public and coworkers.
– Getting even with you for some reason.
– Impressing everyone with how important these nutty laws are.
– Needing a complex investigation to justify overtime or Premium Pay.
– Forging a case with “Precedence Value” to immortalize myself.
I could be your worst nightmare.
Look no further than the recent “raid” on the cattle operation of Mr. Bundy in Nevada by such government enforcers, without a court order, that resulted in the shooting of valuable livestock and confrontations with citizens fomented by enforcers armed to the teeth ostensibly protecting a tortoise that nearby government-funded solar panel farms are harming far worse than any cattle. Those enforcers are “doing their job”, being rewarded for a “good job” and are planning their next moves to further oppress citizens as I write. (“Next time we will first use bean bags by the camera and then loudspeakers and then we rush them if they don’t disperse and then…!”)
Wolves, dogs and coyotes that appear for all intents and purposes as the same animal are either: A.) Wolves completely protected at all times, B.) Coyotes that are unprotected and may be killed at any time, or C.) Dogs that are either 1.) someone’s private property and thus covered by property laws and the owners ire, or 2.) free-roaming dogs covered or not by local ordinances and/or state laws. Just as the cattle shooters are apparently unrestrained as they go about their “duties”; so too are the enforcers arresting and prosecuting citizens that kill or bother wolves that may or may not look to every American just like a large coyote or dog.
Utilizing the discretion inherent in this genetic mishmash, I would seize the animal in question or describe it if it got away as a wolf. As I built the case, I would document your background, interview people that had dealt with you like environmentalists and anti-gun folks and game wardens and other enforcers. I would copy and enter as evidence everything you ever said or wrote about wolves or government benevolence. Only if the DNA Analysis was absolute (there is no such wolf or dog or coyote) would I stop if I wanted to go forward. I would document how you thought “it looked like” a large/small, light/dark canid (i.e. wolf/dog/coyote?). How you didn’t know about how tails and ears indicate one animal or the other. I would document how you mistakenly guessed the weight of the animal or how you misread the tracks around your dead dog and how you didn’t know the official government distances distinguishing the tracks of a wolf and the tracks of a coyote. I would catch all the times you said things like “that looked like” something you “should have” or “shouldn’t have” done .I will have a field day because the laws and regulations give the government all the aces and the citizens all the deuces.
In addition to watching ambulance chasers descending on you like vampires when the sun goes down, I would “shop” for the “professor” or DNA “Analyst” (just like litigious modern environmental Americans “shop” for Washington DC or 9th Circuit judges and courts to get judges that prefer them) to get DNA “Results” that will send you like Diogenes in search of “your own” “Analyst” or “Professor” that the court and jury will look down on as inferior to the august government “expert witness”. The public will admire me and begin to look on you as they do that guy that owns (owned?) the Los Angeles Clippers with the “girlfriend” about the age of his grandkids. Whether I win or lose: you lose and I win! Why? Because, it is all based on a bad (un-Constitutional and oppressive) law with all manner of hidden agendas and loopholes put there over time by self-serving bureaucrats that keep harmful federal and state politicians in power with illusions about animals.
So is “B.” the right answer to both questions?
1.) Is the wolf bitch birthing pups from eggs fertilized by a German Shepherd, a coyote and a Yellow Lab (yes litters can have more than one Papa) giving birth to wolves or dogs? Despite what a lawyer or bureaucrat tells you about how DNA “proves” and the Endangered Species Act says they are unprotected dogs: believe them at your own risk. Those offspring are what a court and a judge says they are. Go no further than the next generation when the half-Lab is subsequently bred by a wolf and the Lab genes join the genes of ancient semi-wild dogs from Indian Villages, peasant cottages in Medieval France and caves in prehistoric Europe and Asia in the genetic soup of the “wolf” critter you are charged with “taking”.
2.) Is the person that kills or harasses such offspring of a wolf/dog cross a felon or a hero? See #1. If the pup grows up looking just like his mother’s brother in the Little Red Riding Hood story, I would not hold out a hope or expectation of some benevolent enforcer or government bureaucracy with a scintilla of concern about your welfare if you are caught in a web of prosecution wherein the outcome revolves on what a jury thinks about the charges against you in light of claims about what the DNA “proves.”
I must admit I think the answer to both questions is “it depends.”
Like tyrannies down through the ages, our fate once more has come to “depend” on bad laws that exist only to mask the way the whims of the powerful are imposed on the rest of us day in and day out; in all we must do and all we cannot do.