Posted: Saturday, August 1, 2015
DEADWOOD — In town fewer than four months, in business for a little over two, the Fur-Ever Wild business property that houses wolf pups and other wild and exotic animals and that has come under intense scrutiny by members of the community is listed for sale.
“Fur-Ever Wild has decided to sell our location in Deadwood, South Dakota, because of the changes in rules, regulations, and ordinances from the city of Deadwood and the Animal Industry Board,” said Fur Ever Wild owner Terri Petter. “The Deadwood facility was bought after the city of Deadwood gave us permission to open a facility with no city restrictions.”
However, a recently approved ordinance in Deadwood prohibited the business from increasing the number of animals it could house, and the state Animal Industry Board denied Petter her plans of allowing the public to pet the young animals.
“After the new ordinance was approved prohibiting us from change or growth, making us keep the same amount of animals and the same species year after year, would be catastrophic to our selective breeding program,” Petter said. “Not to let a business change or grow is the death to any business and the city of Deadwood knows this. Two city council members even refused to come out and see the facility; their minds were already made up before even seeing our facility or talking to us.”
Deadwood businessman Greg Vecchi, who owns the property at 305 Cliff St. in Deadwood and has a contract for deed arrangement with Fur-Ever Wild owners Petter and Dan Storlie, verified that the property has been listed for sale.
“Essentially, I still own (the property). It’s on a contract for deed,” Vecchi said. “They’re putting it up for sale with my permission. I have given them permission to put it up for sale and they can keep it for sale, as long as they follow the provisions of the contract for deed contract. Right now, they are following that.”
Petter said that for months, the state Animal Industry Board told her that pet-n-plays were possible if she followed certain guidelines.
“The facility was bought knowing that these guidelines were met,” Petter said. “At the end of the Animal Industry Board hearing after being told there weren’t any issues, the head vet changed his recommendation to not allow public contact with certain animals, even though other facilities have been doing it for years and can be documented. Both changes in opinions and regulations are sad for both the state of South Dakota and the city of Deadwood who allow rodeos, circuses, who is proud of the beef and other agricultural industries, who invite tourists in to take their money but doesn't want kids’ educational attractions, but backs casinos and other non-kid friendly attractions.”
The business, headquartered in Lakeville, Minn., met resistance locally from people opposed to keeping wild animals in captivity and living conditions they alleged were substandard at the Minnesota facility.