Toby Bridges of Missoula, Montana bragged on his Facebook page that he intentionally accelerated the speed of the van he was driving last week to run over two wolves who had been chasing a cow and calf elk on Interstate 90 just east of the Idaho-Montana border reported the Great Falls Tribune.
Montana Area 2 Warden Captain Joseph Jaquith, of the Montana Fish Wildlife Parks law enforcement office states he is “looking into” Bridges’ claim as posted on an anti-wolf Facebook page called Lobo Watch. Bridges describes in disturbing detail how the young wolf’s leg was apparently broken by the vehicle’s impact and how the pup howled and writhed in excruciating agony before it died.
A public statement from Captain Jaquith addressed the concerns of the department citing it is illegal to intentionally hit animals with a vehicle:
“We’re trying to determine, first of all, what exactly we can do with something somebody says on Facebook with no other physical evidence. Whether or not it’s true remains to be seen.”
“It’s very unsporting, regardless of how you feel about wolves or lawful means for harvest of wolves, certainly running them down on the highway is not what we would accept.”
On the Facebook page, in his original post describing the incident, Bridges stated
“…”let off the brake and hit the accelerator. There was no time to hit the brakes (like I really would?) and I heard two distinct loud “thumps”. Out of my mirror, I saw an almost black 50-pound wolf spinning around in the middle of the highway…with one very apparent, very badly broken back leg. In the other mirror, I saw one slightly smaller wolf rolling onto the shoulder.”
Intense criticism of Bridges’ actions have been posted across social media similar to the following on the Lobo Watch Facebook page next to the photos of the wolves lying on the road:
” The idiot braggart and social sociopath who did this is a lowdown confirmed coward and anyone who associates with him is the same. How low down and cowardly! and then post on your lobo watch Facebook site – support for our military and our nation – our military and nation are mostly made up of men and women who would no sooner vomit if you walked into the same room and would not associate with you.”
The Predator Defense is asking everyone to contact officials to continue a thorough investigation:
“Tell FWP you are horrified by Bridges’ actions, that the state needs to come out publicly and say his behavior is deplorable, and that they must fully investigate whether he should be charged with a crime against wildlife.”
Contact information is provided below:
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
1420 East Sixth Avenue
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Phone: (406) 444-2535
Fax: (406) 444-4952
Directors Office: (406) 444-3186
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