By Jim Beers
Missoula County is a county located in the State of Montana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 109,426, making it the second-most populous county in Montana. Its county seat and largest city is Missoula. The county was founded in 1860. As of the census of 2000, there were 38,439 households, and 23,140 families residing in Missoula County. The population density was 37 people per square mile (14/km²). There were 41,319 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km²). Missoula County is home to the University of Montana and the University Of Montana College Of Technology.
NEWS ITEM: The Montana Department of Livestock has announced a quarantine of Missoula County for Rabies. The quarantine was implemented on Sept. 14 and will last 60 days. All dogs, cats and ferrets must have current rabies vaccinations for a minimum of 28 days prior to travel outside the county.
Q & A: According to the North Dakota Department of Health, people usually get rabies when an animal with rabies bites them, thus injecting saliva into their bodies. In a tiny amount of cases, people contract rabies when saliva or nervous tissue infected with rabies contacts an open wound. In rare circumstances, rabies transmission can also occur when saliva or nervous tissue touches an area such as the eyes, nose or mouth. All mammals are capable of contracting rabies, but bites from bats and other animals with small teeth may go unnoticed.
Missoula County is now inhabited by an abundance of wolves. Wolves were all but exterminated (except for an occasional straggler) at great cost, time and effort by from Missoula County by Montanans in the first part of the last century to protect humans, livestock, desirable wild animals like deer and elk and the growing communities of this beautiful county.
Wolves were returned to Missoula County under President Clinton by federal bureaucrats that stole Millions (that were never returned) from state wildlife budgets in 1994 and 1995 to capture, transport and release Canadian wolves in Yellowstone National Park, something that the US Congress had refused to authorize or fund. By 2000 the Canadian wolves had exploded (thanks to elk and moose that had not seen wolves for almost a century and the extensive herds of cattle and flocks of sheep that were a veritable abundant banquet table of veal, lamb and other tasty and healthy morsels) and begun their outward expansion from Yellowstone through the settled landscapes of Missoula County and other such counties. Today, those wolves are still expanding through central Washington and into western Oregon and northern California where environmental/animal rights groups treat them with actual religious reverence and the protection of wolf laws and human punishments far in excess of laws and punishments provided for unborn, elderly, disabled or depressed humans.
I have spoken in Missoula County to wonderful people from ranchers and retirees to small business owners and descendants of original settlers with fascinating stories of how the County has evolved. The finest veterinarian I ever met lives in Missoula County and I hope that fine American patriot, father and husband is still sitting at the old paper-strewn desk sans any computer in that office behind his home as I write this.
Like other mid-size to large western cities where I have spoken, Missoula has a large University student population and an abundance of professors et al that abjure the values and rights of others such that you are either for or against what the federal-government wolves have wrought and what they certainly promise to increasingly wreak in the future on others. Also as in nearly all other states with federal wolves (exceptions would include Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, and North Carolina), Missoula County residents are saddled with a state wildlife agency that is little more than a subcontractor and servant for federal impositions like wolves including lying about things like wolf numbers, wolf damages, game losses to wolves, human attacks by wolves and dangers that wolves create and magnify for the spread and transmission of over 30 deadly and debilitating diseases and infections to humans, dogs, domestic mammals, wild animals, human residences, campgrounds, etc. I have attached a copy of my May 2010 Testimony Prepared for the Oregon State Legislature, House Agriculture Committee Regarding Wolves And Particularly Those Diseases And Infections That They Carry And Spread That Humans Are Susceptible To for those that care to read it. It you prefer to not open attachments, drop me a line at the e-mail address below and I will be glad to forward you a copy.
Wolves are in a mammal group called canines that includes all domestic dogs and coyotes. Dogs are notorious vectors of rabies just as are coyotes and wolves. Dogs get “shots” for rabies, coyotes and dogs do not. Whenever there is an “outbreak” of rabies (exactly as when there is an “outbreak” of things like Plague, Brucellosis, Foot-and-Mouth, Mad-Cow, and Lyme Disease, Neospora caninum, and Echinococcus sp.) hosting wolves and wolf packs in the neighborhood makes things much worse. Whether it is deadly tapeworm eggs in wolf stools in residence yards, or saliva on objects that dogs and other mammals mouth, or nasal discharges where wolves sneeze that other mammals lick, or ticks and fleas that wolves spread far and wide, or prions or other infectious matter carried on fur or between wolf toes – wolves are VERY EFFECTIVE TRANSMITTERS of diseases and infections because they:
· Routinely roam over vast areas in all manner of cover and habitat.
· Eat, kill and otherwise interface with all manner of wild and domestic animals.
· Eat, sniff and investigate dead animals frequently.
· Frequent towns, residences, work areas, campgrounds, recreation areas, schoolyards, pastures, and all manner of locations frequented by humans, domestic animals and wild animals from when they bear their young to where they winter and when they are disabled by injury, age or infections.
· Transmit infections like anthrax, smallpox, foot-and-mouth and Mad Cow from one pasture to another or like chronic wasting disease from one deer winter area to another on their fur or between their toes just as they are vectors for fleas with plague or ticks with Lyme Disease.
Rabies is one especially dangerous infection to face where wolves are present. Early American and Western history are replete with accounts of forts with soldiers and Indian villages suddenly confronted with a rabid wolf that bit many before being killed, and trappers left alone to die in the wilderness after being bit by a rabid wolf. European, Russian and Asian history are likewise full of accounts of horrible (in recent years, even a Russian sawyer running a chainsaw was bitten from behind by a rabid wolf that went on to bite and kill others) deaths over the centuries from rabid wolves. One is always confronted with the unanswerable question about a spreading outbreak of rabies concerning whether the raccoons or skunks got it from a virus transmitted by wolves from far away or whether the wolf was infected by the virus far away and brought it to another far off location? Remember that wolves like bats, another notorious transmitter of rabies; move, sleep, play, fight and eat in packs; meaning that what one gets, they can all get.
Today, there has been some success with aerial dropping of massive rabies vaccination material to hopefully immunize an area with an outbreak but that is very expensive and certainly a challenge to keep such enormous quantities of vaccine quickly available. Despite the great cost, there is the additional fact that it can never be more than a short-term solution with wild animals that continue to create unvaccinated generations and roam over vast areas. No. the only effective answer is to minimize the presence of wolves in settled landscapes like the Lower 48 States or to eliminate them and keep them eliminated. This can only be done and afforded by allowing and encouraging local people to bring about and maintain tolerable wolf levels or to eliminate and keep eliminated any wolves in or near their communities like Missoula County. As I write, state enforcers and federal enforcers will arrest and prosecute anyone in Missoula County harassing any wolf, much less killing one in their yard or pasture or near the school bus stop. Ask them why and they’ll say, ask the judge. Ask the judge and he’ll say, ask your legislator. Ask your legislator, and he’ll say it’s a federal law. Find a federal legislator that voted for this law and 5 will get you 1 he won’t come out from under his/her desk!
Wolves and Rabies are a deadly combination.
What, you are probably asking, do crickets have to do with Rabies and Wolves? More than you could ever imagine.
1. What did we hear about rabies et al when the environmental/animal rights’ radicals demanded wolf introductions?
2. What did the federal bureaucrats say about rabies et al when they introduced the wolves?
3. What did the state bureaucrats say about rabies et al when the wolves were introduced into and spread into “their” state?
4. What did those private, state and federal veterinarians, with only one exception I know of, say about rabies et al say when the wolves were introduced?
5. What did all those academics and “experts” on the government mammary gland say about rabies et al when the wolves were introduced?
6. What did those “environmentalist” animal rights radicals, academic “experts”, state bureaucrats, federal bureaucrats, federal politicians that passed the ESA, veterinarians (with one exception), and Washington Lobby Groups for everything from hunting and kennel “associations” to ranching and farming activities say when the questions were raised by myself before the Oregon Legislature and others about the heightened health threats to humans, domestic animals and wildlife posed by these wolves?
7. What do all these self-serving ideologues say when you, and I, and others ask, “Who is responsible for introducing these wolves?” Or even better, “Under what provision of the US Constitution was such a debacle constructed with my tax dollars?” Or better yet, “Who will pay me when these government wolves infect my yard, kill my dog, spread disease in my community, cause my cows to abort, put my kid in the hospital, spread the Mad Cow and Foot-and-Mouth outbreaks, bring plague infected fleas to my kennel area, transport Lyme Disease-laden ticks into my yard or the schoolyard or park – WHO?”
The answer to all of the above, 1 through 7; is CRICKETS! Like asking these questions into the night by a fire near a Midwestern marsh and grassy fields, the only voice you will hear is your own and those crickets and frogs croaking in the darkness. Those that should answer and be held accountable are either still legislating in Washington, hiding quietly in remote offices or comfortably ensconced in a gated community in Florida.
Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others.
Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.