Rep. Young Says Wolves May Cure “Homeless Problem”

Alaska lawmaker’s gaffe raises hackles

Mar 6, 2015
Outside Magazine

Don Young's controversial statement was in response to a letter signed by 79 House members asking to list the gray wolf as threatened.    Wikimedia Commons

Addressing the U.S. Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, Alaska Rep. Don Young said that wolves might cure the “homeless problem” in his state, Alaska Dispatch News reports. Young opposes gray wolf protections.

After the statement made national headlines, Young released a statement later Thursday that his words were “misunderstood,” reports Alaska Dispatch News.

“We’ve got 79 congressmen sending you a letter, haven’t got a damn wolf in their whole district,” Young said at the hearing. “I’d like to introduce them in your district. If I introduced them in your district, you wouldn’t have a homeless population anymore.”

Young was referring to a letter signed by House members asking Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to reconsider removing the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List. Young accused Jewell’s department acts without consulting Alaskans or Native Alaskans.

After the hearing, Young offered a statement of explanation on his website, in which he said that he had intended to be hyperbolic, “in order to stress the point that wolves are a serious problem for communities who deal with them.”

“If you misunderstood my comments, just imagine the impact a healthy wolf population would have on your own town, community, or congressional district,” Young's statement continued. “It would wreak havoc and place anything in their reach in great jeopardy.”