TWISP, Wash. (AP) -- The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued five special permits in the Methow Valley allowing hunters to use dogs to track and kill cougars in response to numerous problems this winter.
A media source reports the permits are a result of numerous sightings and incidents in which cougars have killed livestock and pets in the Twisp and Winthrop areas.
Wildlife officer Cal Treser says the permits are called public safety cougar removal permits, and they're issued when areas experience numerous complaints. Hunters with hounds are drawn by permits and allowed to hunt in specific areas.
So far this winter, a dog was seriously injured and two goats and a sheep have been killed by cougars.
In 1996, Washington voters banned cougar hunting with the help of hounds, but since then lawmakers have gradually and increasingly made exemptions.