MADISON, Wis.— The Center for Biological Diversity today added $2,500 to the reward for information leading to an arrest for the poisonings of wildlife and dogs on public lands in northern Wisconsin, bringing the total reward to $3,500.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began this investigation last year after finding several dead dogs, wolves, coyotes and weasels in northern Wisconsin. Lab tests confirmed that poisoning caused the deaths.
“People should be able to enjoy watching wildlife and walking their dogs on our public lands without fear of more tragic poisonings,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center. “We’re adding to this reward with the hope that someone comes forward with information that finally brings an end to this senseless, indiscriminate poisoning of rare wildlife and family dogs.”
Investigators are now focusing on Florence, Forest and Marinette counties, just south of the Michigan border in northern Wisconsin, where most of the deaths have occurred. At least seven dogs have died as well as at least two rare gray wolves. Just last month a yellow lab and a German shepherd died after eating poison found along gravel roads on U.S. Forest Service land in Forest County, and on April 26 two beagles died in the same general area.
“With so many people in northern Wisconsin headed outdoors this Memorial Day weekend, I hope folks can keep an eye out for any signs of the poison or poisoned animals,” said Adkins. “I’m hopeful that someone will be able to come forward with information about these abhorrent poisonings that will be useful to law enforcement.”
Last year the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing federal protection from gray wolves, prompting a tremendous outcry from wildlife advocates across the country. But for now the gray wolf remains protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. The maximum penalty for violating the Act is one year in jail and a $100,000 fine per individual.
Anyone with information on these poisoning deaths should contact the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement in Madison, Wisconsin at (608) 221-1206.