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Mute swan bills die quietly

Post by Melissa Santos / The Olympian on Feb. 9, 2010 at 4:05 pm with No Comments »
February 10, 2010 11:52 am

A Gig Harbor homeowners association will have to keep waiting to replace a mute swan that used to live on its private lake.

A bill to ease restrictions on the trafficking of mute swans died in committee Friday, leaving members of the Sylvia Lake homeowners association in Gig Harbor with no legal way to buy a new bird.

Since 1991, the birds have been deemed “deleterious exotic wildlife” in Washington because wildlife officials say they can damage wetlands and become aggressive with people and animals.

Homeowners at Sylvia Lake kept two of the birds on their lake to ward off Canadian geese for more than 20 years without a problem, due to a grandfather clause in state statutes. But now that one of the birds has died, state law forbids the association from buying a new one.

Bills by state Rep. Larry Seaquist and state Sen. Derek Kilmer, both Democrats from Gig Harbor, aimed to change that. The bills had hearings in January but failed to advance out of their legislative committees before Friday’s cutoff date. The proposals, HB 2476 and SB 6255, never came up for a vote.

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