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No Charges Filed in Wolf Case www.Abqjournal.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

No Charges Filed in Wolf Case

By Rene Romo

Copyright © 2007 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Southern Bureau

 No charges will be filed in the confrontation in which a state biologist alleged a federal Wildlife Services employee threatened her with a rifle after the shooting of a wolf in Catron County.
   The decision on the July 5 incident was disclosed late Tuesday by Clint Wellborn, district attorney for the 7th Judicial District.
   In a letter to Catron County Sheriff Shawn Menges, Wellborn said he concluded that there was insufficient evidence of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
   The former state Game and Fish Department biologist, 26-year-old Angela Dassow, disputed Wellborn’s conclusions but said she was not surprised by the results.
   “This is pretty much exactly how I expected things to turn out,” Dassow said in a telephone interview from her home in Wisconsin.

Dassow, who quit her summer job with the endangered Mexican gray wolf program in New Mexico shortly after the July 5 incident, noted that Catron County officials have been critical of the wolf reintroduction program. She said she expected the sheriff’s department investigation would be “biased.”
   Ranch hand Mike Miller, who works on the Adobe Ranch and was present with three Wildlife Services employees during the confrontation, has denied that Dassow was ever threatened. He said the woman was disoriented at the time.
   “I’m glad they ain’t going to charge any of us,” Miller said Tuesday. “Now they need to charge her for making false statements.”
   Fear must be present to charge someone with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the district attorney said.
   Wellborn noted that, when asked how she felt about having a rifle pointed at her, Dassow told a deputy: “I didn’t feel warm and fuzzy inside, but, I mean, I didn’t think he would actually shoot me.”
   A supervisor sent Dassow to the Adobe Ranch on July 5 to tell Wildlife Services workers that an order to kill an endangered Mexican gray wolf had been temporarily halted.

   The wolf already had been shot and killed by the time Dassow arrived, and she claimed that one of the federal employees, holding a rifle with one hand, leveled the firearm at her and said she had “no business” being there.

   The district attorney said his decision to file no charges was based on his review of reports by the sheriff’s department and State Police.
   Wellborn said he concluded from Dassow’s statements to police that she never feared for her safety or felt the Wildlife Services employee would harm her.

   Dassow, in the telephone interview Tuesday, said she also told investigators she felt “that I had a 50-50 chance of being shot.”
   “To me, that means I felt threatened,” Dassow said. “But apparently they have a different interpretation.”

   Wellborn said he could not determine from statements Dassow gave investigators that the rifle was pointed directly at her.
   Wellborn said Dassow told a State Police agent that the barrel of the rifle was pointed skyward and wielded with a “passive” motion.
   Dassow said she had acted out how the weapon had been pointed at her in an interview with State Police. “It was pointed directly at me,” she said Tuesday.

   Dassow believes stress from the confrontation caused her later on July 5 to faint at her residence after breaking a window to get in because her key did not work.
   Dassow first told law enforcement about the confrontation hours after it occurred when a deputy and a colleague found her on the floor of her rented house, “eyes fixed, staring,” Wellborn said.

   “I just don’t understand,” Dassow said Tuesday. “I just don’t, once every couple of months, decide to lay catatonic on the floor because I decide to punch a hole in a window. They can’t think this is how people act if they weren’t threatened.”
   Eight conservation groups last week asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct an “unbiased” investigation of the case.

4 comments to No Charges Filed in Wolf Case www.Abqjournal.com

  1. admin
    August 31st, 2007 at 10:45 am

    One could notice that Ms. Dassow is using a statement that appeared in a Center for Biological Diversity and Forest Guardians press release last week in this interview.

    Who is more biased about the wolf program than these two groups. Who despises wildlife services officers more than these two groups?
    Leading to the conslusion who has ties to these groups and probably did at the time of the lethal removal of the AF 924 wolf. Therefore, who made false statements?

  2. admin
    August 31st, 2007 at 11:09 am

    How odd, Sinapu an extremist pro wolf organization is blogging on the Dassow incident as well, only they appear to have been supportive of NGO’s efforts to see WS officers hung out to dry for this accusation. Even without evidence it ever occured. Coming soon, real police reports, (it is now a matter of public record) on the alleged gun pointing incident so you can make up your own mind. Why would Sinapu know where to and how to contact Angella Dassow her professional position was with NM Game and Fish and if necessary, they would be the persons to contact regarding any investigation.

    ” I found this blog while trying to find information about the Casper
    Star Tribune srticle that said a Angela Dassow had resigned her job (
    I believe w/ NMs Game and Fish or some sheriff or wildlife agency )
    after being threatened by USDA Wildlife Services. I am interested in
    contacting Angela to bolster her claim of being threatened. The USDA
    Inspector General is asking this of me. But I also find that this
    blog is clogged by the rabid opinions of an individual named or using
    the identity Marion. I hate to see her hatemongering in another venue
    as I am accustomed to her attempts to have any reasonable discussion. She must be a very troubled woman; I feel sorry for her.”

  3. Mike
    September 1st, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    “They can't think this is how people act if they weren't threatened.

    What Ms. Dassow must mean by this garbled statement is that her bizarre behavior was out-of-character for most people, and the deputy who found her “eyes fixed, staring” and “catatonic on the floor” should have realized she was a victim of some kind of threat.

    This is an interesting theory. The psychological skills of the deputy aside, how do people act when they feel threatened? How should they act? Are some behaviors excusable if acted out by people in fear?

    How then should we expect people threatened by wolves to act? What behaviors are excusable in those cases?

    This is a key question. The eco-litigious groups expect the victims of wolf depredations and attacks to respond to those threats in a passive manner, as if those threats did not exist. But they also expect legal retributions will be administered by courts if one of their own feels threatened, whether that threat is real or not.

    A double standard? The eco-litigious groups strike fear in the hearts of rural residents every single day, and inflict terrible harms, but go crying to the judge when they feel the least, slightest, imaginary threat.

    They act like a spoiled child who kicks his or her playmate, and then runs to Mommy for protection against a kick back.

    Spoiled children is an excellent description of the groups in question.

  4. Greg Farber
    September 2nd, 2007 at 7:24 am

    I wonder how many boy friends have been accused of hitting Dassow in her dazed and confused life, that never did.

    In 2006 in the Idaho Sawtooth Wilderness two biologists had to be rescued from a wolf pack that was following them and howling, they climbed onto a rock and called for help, the forest service picked them up with a chopper. It got to realistic for them and they cried for their mommy.

    But these wolves are innocent “ICONS” that deserve to be every where eating every thing.

    Charge this liar with making false statements, this is the real world not LALA land driven by emotion.

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