Whitman County prosecutor Denis Tracy has driven the value of a wolf's life to a new low in his sentencing of Jonathan Rasmussen. That farmer intentionally killed an animal protected under Washington's endangered species rule. Rasmussen will not face prosecution if he pays just $100 and commits no further game violations for the next six months.
Though the crime could have cost Rasmussen up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine, Tracy said that he chose a fine based on the administrative costs of handling the case. In other words, the killer will just pay for Tracy's time, not for killing a wolf.
Tracy told a reporter, "I thought about this case and how to resolve it for quite some time." Some time indeed. Rasmussen shot the male wolf on Oct. 12, 2014, and then called 911 to report his crime. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the wolf did not die immediately from Rasmussen's two bullets; he suffered until government agents arrived and put him out of his misery. Now, more than eleven months later, Tracy slaps the farmer's wrist.