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SAVE THE WOLF BUT KILL THE FARMER
The Richard Mann Story


 North Carolina farmer Richard Mann thought he was shooting a large dog that was threatening his cattle. But when he came back the next day to bury the animal, he was confronted by federal wildlife officials who charged him with killing a red wolf - a federally-protected species. Mann was fined $2,000 and required to perform community service by building "wolf houses" and feeding the wolves. Afterwards, he filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) claiming that the federal government had no constitutional authority to prevent residents from protecting themselves and their property.

The red wolf, which is not even native to the state, was introduced by the FWS to the area in 1984 as part of an experiment to see how well the animals adapt to the environment. There is considerable scientific debate about whether the red wolf is a distinct "species" that merits special protection. In fact, many wildlife experts believe that it is a cross between a gray wolf and a coyote. Whatever the red wolf is, federal officials assured farmers that the wolves would stay in the boundaries of the wildlife refuge and if by some chance the wolves would wander, the government would retrieve them. But just in case, the North Carolina legislature passed a law specifically allowing residents to kill the red wolves if they believed the animals posed a threat to their lives or livestock. Mann claims the state law allowed him to shoot the animal.

Federal lawyers argue that FWS regulations protecting red wolves take precedence over the state's legislation protecting landowners. The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering whether the federal government has the constitutional right to override state and local laws protecting property owners.
Source: Pacific Legal Foundation


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