Wolf Pup Exhibitor Endangers Animal and Human Health

Posted on May 19, 2015

Animal Advocates Seek Government Action for Reported Animal Welfare Act Violations at Controversial Exhibition and Fur Factory

For immediate release:

Megan Backus, ALDF


Deadwood, S.D. — Today, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sent a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) notifying the agency of evidence indicating grotesque violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by the wildlife exhibition and fur-harvesting facility “Fur-Ever Wild.” The Lakeville-Minnesota business exploits wolf pups in a petting zoo and later skins them for their fur, according to statements made by owner Terri Petter. Now the facility plans to open a new location in Deadwood. The AWA is the primary federal law that protects animals in captivity and mandates the provision of adequate shelter, and sanitary food, water, and housing. ALDF’s letter urges the USDA to inspect the Deadwood facility immediately for AWA violations, to protect both animal health and human safety.

According to ALDF’s letter, recent news reports about the controversial facility indicate conditions at Fur-Ever Wild include mud and feces-encrusted enclosures, wolves without regular access to clean water, and enclosures so small that one arctic fox was observed running back and forth in a small cage for over an hour—abnormal behavior indicating poor mental health. A visitor also reportedly observed that people may easily stick their hands into cages, endangering the public in its interactions with animals that include mountain lions, foxes, and other dangerous wildlife in addition to the wolves. The USDA provides licenses to animal facilities such as this one, although Petter does not yet hold an exotic animal permit in the state of South Dakota. The facility has been found to violate the AWA multiple times in the past and may be subject to an enforcement action or license revocation as a result of ALDF’s complaint.

The early removal of wolf pups from their mothers has also outraged the public. Bred at the Minnesota facility, they are removed from their mothers, sometimes before their eyes fully open. They are displayed for profit in the petting zoos, where the wild animals have full contact with humans. When they get too big for the petting zoo, evidence suggests they are shipped back to Minnesota and skinned for their fur. Hides fetch approximately $200. Yet Petter claims the breeding facility is an educational opportunity.

According to a lawsuit filed in Minnesota, neighbors have long complained about the stench of the facility, in addition to noise and public safety concerns. Shari Kosel, a South Dakota resident that helped South Dakota become the 50th state with an animal cruelty provision last year (for which she was awarded her own day of the year—Tuesday, May 5, 2015—by Governor Daugaard) has started a hugely popular Change.org petition that has drawn more than 114,000 signatures in mere days.

“This facility does not appear to comply with the most basic standards of the law. We expect the USDA to investigate these reports and come down hard on any illegal and dangerous neglect,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “The breeding of wild animals for personal profit is inhumane and puts children and families at risk for disease and injury.”

Copies of the complaint are available upon request.


32 thoughts on “Wolf Pup Exhibitor Endangers Animal and Human Health

  1. Set th wolfs free and quit exploting them

  2. Linda Mallery says:

    This is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard of. Can’t someone stop this?

  3. Terry Harnwell says:

    Where is the petition?????

    1. Bambara Aven says:

      See what I wrote below.

  4. Susan Endlich says:

    Psychopathic business plan. This should not be legal.

  5. Bambara Aven says:

    The petition is in the second to last paragraph (not counting that last sentence ‘Copies of …). The link to the petition is the ‘Change.org’ in the sentence where the #114,000 is located.

  6. Ellen says:

    Too bad the USDA is so anemic and whatever action they do take is to help the lobbyists who put money in their pockets.

  7. jody says:

    This is absolutely appalling. I will sign a petition…. how ?

  8. Kalyn says:

    Please stop this inhumane act!!!

  9. Kris V says:

    APHIS/AWA is corrupt and inept. It’s a frightening combination. Tom Vilsack hasn’t done a thing to improve this mess. In fact, their 2015 Budget Summary report and their latest Strategic Plan both basically read “we do less with less,” but they can’t blame funding cuts because APHIS has been failing for decades.

  10. Wilma Lagrand says:

    Close and release all Animals on Earth they have a right to be live in freedom!!!

  11. Karen Richard says:

    Please Save The Wolves,Thank You..

  12. Liana Alecu says:

    Cruelty to any animal must be stopped.

  13. Mary Bakea says:

    I’m so disgusted with the whole subject.. Please start a petition for us to sign..!

  14. annie lubold says:

    Why are these people allowed to get away with what they do? Is money so important to them that life becomes so cheap? How much does politics have to play in this? This is disgusting and so cruel!!!

  15. danielle says:

    This is just horrific. It makes me sick to read this. Save them!

  16. Melinda Morrison says:

    Please stop this dolt from exploiting these wonderful animals!

  17. Stefanie Hochstadter says:


  18. Marguerite Brown says:

    Where are these sick, sick people? What can we do?

  19. Debra Spring says:

    Please stop this from continuing.

  20. linda getchel says:

    THIS NEEDS TO STOP!!!!…….i’m really tired of politics trying to control everything…..nothing but money hungry governmental agencies!!!

  21. Maly Pfumpfei-Vukovic says:

    Stop this respectless cruelty !!!!!!

  22. Maly Pfumpfei-Vukovic says:

    Stop this barbaric action !

  23. Michele pariseau says:

    If there is a petition to stop this outrageous act to defensive wolf pup to any any animal,I will sign.

  24. Marcella says:

    The South Dakota town has granted the permit for this “educational” facility to open. More than 15 wolf and fox pups will arrive within days for the place to open. The only restrictions imposed are that there cannot be direct contact between the pups and the visitors. The pups will still be taken from their breeding mothers back in Minnesota way too early, they will still be displayed until they aren’t “cute” anymore, and they will still be returned to the home base in Minnesota – an official known and licensed “fur farm” – to be killed and skinned for their pelts (along with many other N.American species on the “farm”), or entered into their non-stop breeding system.
    Absolutely disgusting. The whole thing. Terribly sad and horrible. What an absolutely heinous way to “make a living.” And now they can expand their exploitative enterprise into South Dakota and make even MORE money on these creatures before killing them.
    Just lovely. :-(

  25. Henry Orgel says:

    Seems that these sleazy people will do anything for a buck. Kill these innocent wolf pups and con the public with an over priced ‘petting zoo’. Real pieces of work! Does South Dakota want trash people like this associated with their state’s good name? I should hope not!

  26. Jeanne McClung says:

    deplorable for Minnesota to allow endangered species, never mind the horrendous conditions. Some of those wire cages, are for transport not living conditions. Whose watching the hen house and who stands to benefit from removing species from the endangered list. In light of this facility being licensed I believe the answers are crystal clear.

  27. Barb says:

    SHAME ON YOU AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Hans van der Zwan says:

    Against all animal cruelty!!!

  29. Lia van het Veer says:

    STOP all animal cruelty!!!

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