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Proposed Ordinance Would Set Protocol For Vehicle-Wildlife Collisions

Photo by Steven Coffey

  The Summit County Council is being asked to consider an ordinance that could set a protocol for vehicle-wildlife collisions and would reduce the suffering of stricken animals.

During their public comment time, the council heard from Summer Combs, a Hidden Cove resident, a 16-year-old student at Park City High, and an intern with the group Save People, Save Wildlife.

She asked the council to approve a Wildlife Collision Ordinance, which would call on drivers who have struck large wildlife to immediately report it to authorities.

"This will help reduce animal suffering for mortality injured animals and provide documentation of an actual collision that could help the driver in an insurance claim." Combs continued, "Save People, Save Wildlife contacted the sheriff’s office for wildlife accident protocol. Currently there is no citizen responsibility to report such accidents. Only if the sheriff’s department is contacted by a collision with wildlife, then they are instructed to call DWR. Save People, Save Wildlife also contacted Phil Douglass, wildlife conservation outreach manager for DWR, and asked his input regarding this ordinance request. He was very positive about this idea and stated that he has been an advocate for many years to make drivers aware and accountable for avoiding wildlife collisions by reducing speed and even changing routes during morning and evening patterns.”

She cited a recent case of a suffering animal and its calf left on the roadway.

"On Sunday evening, August 19th, 2018, there was a wildlife collision in the Pinebrook neighborhood. The following afternoon the situation was elevated to the point where it involved DWR, Park City Police, two Park City fire engines, and the Gorgoza Water Company, all collectively trying to help an injured cow Moose who was unable to move from a ditch." Combs explained, "She lay there incapacitated due to her injuries from a vehicle collision the night prior where she and her calf were struck and abandoned by a resident in Pinebrook. DWR conducted an autopsy on the cow Moose and deducted that she passed away from a broken pelvis due to the collision the night before. Consequently, she died from her injuries on Monday August 20th around 1:00 pm and her calf died the next day Tuesday August 21st also from internal injuries.”

Council Chairwoman Kim Carson said they will explore the idea and added that collisions with animals are an issue in her own neighborhood of Silver Creek.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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