A recent poll* conducted by Remington Research Group for the Humane Society of the United States shows overwhelming voter disapproval of currently permitted methods for pursuing and killing wildlife in Wyoming. Media around the world have chronicled growing public outrage over a sickening incident in Daniel, Wyoming, earlier this month when a man allegedly ran over and disabled a wolf with his snowmobile. Photos and videos show the injured and suffering wolf, likely less than a year old, at a local bar with duct tape and a muzzle around her mouth and a shock collar around her neck.  Bar patrons took video and photos and taunted her before the alleged perpetrator took her outside and killed her.

Although local law enforcement officials are still investigating this disturbing incident, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department issued only a $250 citation to the individual allegedly involved, citing a law prohibiting possession of a live wild animal. Using a snowmobile to run over a wolf is currently legal under Wyoming state law. Wyoming’s animal cruelty statute also largely excludes wild animals.

Poll highlights:

  • 71% of voters, including majorities across all political parties and ideologies, believe the above-described actions in the wolf incident are animal cruelty.

  • Across the board, an average of 3-in-4 Wyoming residents believe that it is not acceptable to use snowmobiles to kill animals classified as “predators” in Wyoming. This includes wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackrabbits, porcupines, raccoons and domestic cats classified as “stray” by the state.

  • A majority of voters (58%), including majorities across all major media markets in the state, would support changing the law to prohibit the use of snowmobiles to pursue, strike, injure and kill wolves and other previously mentioned animals.

Wildlife advocates are calling on elected officials to step up and prohibit the use of snowmobiles and other motorized vehicles to pursue, injure and kill wildlife, and ensure that all are more clearly covered under the state’s animal cruelty statute and protected from such heinous acts as what occurred in Daniel.

“Wyoming voters do not support animal cruelty, nor do they want the reputation of the Equality State associated with such malicious and sickening actions,” said Wendy Keefover, senior strategist for native carnivore protection at the Humane Society of the United States. “It’s not a coincidence that this outrageous incident occurred in a state with so few legal protections for wildlife. The world is closely watching Wyoming, and it’s time that state officials listen to their constituents and work to ban cruel practices immediately and also to create an atmosphere of greater tolerance and coexistence with wild creatures. Animals don’t deserve to suffer and die in such a horrifying way.”

While the focus of the survey was on wildlife, Wyoming voters’ concern for animal welfare extended to companion animals. Only a small percentage of respondents – 27% - were even aware that Wyoming still used gas chambers as a method to euthanize dogs and cats. However, after learning about the issue, 63% opposed using archaic gas chambers as a method of euthanasia. Wyoming and Missouri are the only states that still have active chambers in use.

*The poll was conducted by Remington Research Group from April 16 to April 20, 2024. 540 likely 2024 General Election voters participated in the survey. The survey was weighted to match expected turnout demographics for the 2024 General Election. Margin of Error is +/-3% with a 95% level of confidence. Totals do not always equal 100% due to rounding. View more here.

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