Thursday, December 17, 2015
Fur-Ever Wild in Lakeville raises wolves only to butcher them for their pelts, according to the Animal Legal Defense League.
While you're there, don't forget about Comanche. He's probably the most photogenic of the wolves that call the acreage home. Admission is only $10. But cash donations are always welcome. Fur-Ever Wild operates both as both a regular biz and nonprofit.
But aside from the Dances With Wolves' marketing is a messy detail. After the wolf pups have grown up and your kids have oohed and aahed and hit you up at the gift shop, Petter kills the animals, then skins them and sells the pelts.
The "outdoor agri-educational farm" being outed as a slaughterhouse first came to light in early December. Twin Cities' attorney Jennifer Robbins, working on behalf of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, sent Petter a letter and a warning: Gray wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Stop killing them ASAP or we'll see you in federal court.
Violating the law was one thing, but Petter's operation is a total ruse, the letter asserted. She takes people's money. Patrons believe they're supporting the maintenance of endangered species, only for Petter to turn the creatures into rugs when no one is around.
Robbins points to an incriminating paper trail. Petter's annual business license application to the Minnesota DNR provides an inventory of all of her animals, including wolves. (She's also had fox, raccoon, lynx, etc.) Between March 2014 and the end of February 2015, for instance, Petter's had 19 wolf cubs born while 19 others died.
The records show "a calculated breeding program of protected wolves" aimed to "acquire a wolf population that could generate consistent replacements for those animals to be killed and skinned for fur," Robbins wrote.
Petter seems to have admitted as much during a deposition in another unrelated case. "You breed for blood lines," she said in the deposition. "You breed for fur quality. It takes years to get that."
Have you pelted anything in the last few months? a lawyer asked. "I pelted two wolves last night," she said. "… And there is another two going tonight.… then the rest of them go. There will be 25 within the next three weeks, two weeks."
Petter has until Feb. 1 to respond to the latest charges.
"After the sixty-day time frame is up, if we don't have an assurance she's not going to kill endangered wolves, we will file a lawsuit in federal court like on day sixty-one," says Robbins.
Petter didn't respond to multiple interview requests.
She did note in her deposition, however, that she not only slaughters wolves, but horses too.
They're killed for meat, according to Petter, who added, "… and this is going to sound horrible. We also sell the horses to taxidermists."