The Animal Legal Defense Fund today (May 19) asked the USDA Animal Care division investigate Fur-Ever Wild (a.k.a. Wolves Woods & Wildlife) for possible violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Citing this blog’s report this morning on unsanitary conditions observed by an off-duty animal control office at the Lakeville, Minnesota fur farm, the ALDF states that Wolves Woods & Wildlife may be out of compliance with these AWA provisions:
- 9 C.F.R. § 2.131 (c)(1), requiring that “[d]uring public exhibition, any animal must be handled so there is minimal risk of harm to the animal and to the public, with sufficient distance and/or barriers between the animal and the general viewing public so as to assure the safety of animals and the public”;
- 9 C.F.R. § 3.125 (a), requiring that “housing facilities shall be structurally sound and shall be maintained in good repair to . . . contain the animals”;
- 9 C.F.R. § 3.125 (b), requiring that “adequate potable water shall be available on the premises”;
- 9 C.F.R. § 3.125 (d), requiring that “[p]rovision shall be made for the removal and disposal of animal and food wastes”;
- 9 C.F.R. § 3.128, requiring that “[e]nclosures shall be constructed and maintained so as to provide sufficient space to allow each animal to make normal postural and social adjustments with adequate freedom of movement”;
- 9 C.F.R. § 3.129, requiring that “food shall be wholesome, palatable, and free from contamination”;
- 9 C.F.R. § 3.130, requiring that “[potable water] must be provided as often as necessary for the health and comfort of the animal”;
- 9 C.F.R. § 3.131, requiring that “[e]xcreta shall be removed from primary enclosures as often as necessary to prevent contamination of the animals contained therein and to minimize disease hazards and to reduce odors” [Christopher A. Berry, Animal Legal Defense Fund; letter to Dr. Elizabeth A. Goldentyer, Eastern Regional Director, USDA-APHIS-Animal Care; “Request for Investigation of Wolves Woods & Wildlife (41-C-0215),” 2015.05.19].
The ALDF complaint also cites a May 1 Black Hills Pioneer article to support its call for the USDA to investigate Fur-Ever Wild. If the USDA finds violations of the Animal Welfare Act, it can immediately suspend Fur-Ever Wild’s license to keep animals for up to 21 days. AWA violations can incur criminal penalties of one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. The USDA can also impose a civil penalty of $1,500 per offense per day.
The South Dakota Animal Industry Board meets Wednesday, May 20 (just twelve hours from the time of this writing) to consider Fur-Ever Wild’s request for a “Captive Non-Domestic Mammal Possession Permit.” That license if the final permit Fur-Ever Wild owner Terri Petter needs to open her wolf-petting zoo in Deadwood. State veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven and the AIB may want to ask Petter whether her fur farm complies with the Animal Welfare Act and whether the wolves she wants to transport from that farm to Deadwood pose any health and safety risks to South Dakota’s people and animals.
- The USDA offers a full webpage on the Animal Welfare Act.
- Click on the following images to read the ALDF May 19, 2015, letter to USDA Animal Care: