Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee

HB 2476

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning mute swans.

Sponsors: Representatives Seaquist and Angel.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Allows a mute swan not to be designated as exotic wildlife if it meets certain required criteria.

Hearing Date: 1/12/10

Staff: Jaclyn Ford (786-7339).


Both federal and Washington State law regulate the introduction of certain animals into Washington based on the desire to protect native species. Non-native species can have varied effects on native species, the surrounding ecosystem, and the economy. Some non-native species compete with or predate on other species. Other non-native species can impact native species through hybridization.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has authority to regulate ownership of wildlife. The WDFW rules currently outlaw ownership of certain "deleterious exotic wildlife." "Exotic wildlife" refers to fish, amphibians, birds, mammals or other animals that are not native to Washington state. Deleterious exotic wildlife are animals, designated by the WDFW, that pose a serious potential threat to native wildlife or habitat. With few exceptions, such as for research and display, it is unlawful to import into the state, hold, possess, propagate, offer for sale, sell, transfer, or release live specimens of deleterious exotic wildlife, their gametes or embryos. The WDFW or any peace officer may seize, capture, or destroy deleterious exotic wildlife that have escaped the possessor's control. If deleterious exotic wildlife is released intentionally, it is a class C felony. A class C felony is confinement in a state correction institution for up to 5 years, or a fine up to $10,000, or both.

In addition, the Washington Department of Agriculture requires all exotic animals and birds entering Washington to be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection issued by an accredited veterinarian licensed in the state of origin, or accompanied by an international certificate of health. The animal is also required to be accompanied by an entry permit.

Summary of Bill:

A mute swan may not be designated as exotic wildlife by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife if: (1) the mute swan is both sexually altered and pinioned; (2) the mute swan is located on private property that contains water bodies totaling no more than twenty acres; and (3) there are no more than two mute swans located on each property.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Not requested.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.