From VT Digger:
The saga of “Pete the Moose” is near its end.
Or perhaps only the legislative chapters of the legend.
In what seems to have been a violation of convention, if not of etiquette, the Senate on Wednesday declined the request of Agriculture Committee Chair Sara Kittell to let her committee have a crack at H. 91, which had already passed the House and been approved by the Senate’s Natural Resources Committee.
Veteran senators said it was unusual to refuse such a request from a committee chair. But they also said they were all but unanimously ready (if not well past ready) to be done with the issue.
They also said that Kittell, who is from Franklin County, probably made the request at the best of fellow-Democrat Bobby Starr, whose Northeast Kingdom district includes the huge captive elk farm on which “Pete” is also encaged. Kittell and Starr were two of the “no” votes. The others were Republican Vincent Illuzzi, also of the Northeast Kingdom, and, for whatever reason, Philip Baruth of Burlington.
The bill reaffirms that “the fish and wildlife of Vermont are held in trust by the state.”
So they had been, here and in every other state, until last year when a measure literally snuck through in the dead of night transferred control of some wildlife to Doug Nelson, the owner of the elk-hunting preserve and the proprietor of “Pete.” The moose, apparently abandoned by its mother, had been “rescued” and transported (all illegally) to Nelson’s farm, where it was fed donuts and became something of a national cause célèbre.
Though “Pete” will once again become part of the public trust, he will not be harmed. Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry has said that one way or another, Pete will be protected.