NEWPORT, Wash. – A man from Liberty Lake was fined $8,293 in Pend Oreille County District Court Thursday in a plea bargain agreement for killing two wolves.
Terry Leroy Fowler, 55, pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful taking of endangered wildlife, while a third count was dismissed under the agreement. Fowler will pay $8,000 in restitution to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and $293 in court costs. A 364-day jail sentence was suspended, but Fowler will be required to spend 30 days under home electronic monitoring.
WDFW Police Capt. Dan Rahn said the department began investigating the case in late February of 2016, while following up on a wolf mortality near the LeClerc Creek Road in Pend Oreille County. Evidence at the scene led WDFW police to property owned by Fowler.
In March 2016, WDFW served search warrants on Fowler’s cabin in Pend Oreille County, and on his residence in Liberty Lake in Spokane County. Rahn said WDFW police found evidence of wolf trapping, wolf hair, tissue, scat, and two skulls.
In December 2016, the department received the results of a DNA analysis of evidence samples confirming they were from three separate wolves.
WDFW referred charges of three counts of unlawful taking of endangered wildlife to the Pend Oreille County Prosecutor’s Office in early 2017. The plea bargain agreement was finalized Thursday after a number of court hearing continuances.
Wolves are listed as endangered throughout Washington by the state and in the western two-thirds of the state under federal law. Washington had at least 115 wolves in 20 known packs, including at least 10 breeding pairs as of March 2017, when WDFW issued its last population estimate. The wolves in this case were within the Goodman Meadows pack range.
The illegal killing of a wolf or other endangered fish or wildlife species is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
Two other wolf poaching cases in northeast Washington remain under investigation. One involves the killing of a radio-collared female wolf, once part of the Profanity Peak pack in Ferry County, whose carcass was found Dec. 5, 2017, about 15 miles southwest of Republic. The other case involves a dead female wolf found by hunters on Nov. 12, 2017 within the range of the Dirty Shirt pack, about 10 miles southeast of Colville in Stevens County.
Rahn encouraged anyone who might have relevant information about these cases to contact WDFW at 877-933-9847 or 360-902-2936.