State Board Hears Deadwood Wolf Petting Zoo App Wednesday; Expert Raises Health, Safety Concerns

The South Dakota Animal Industry Board meets Wednesday, May 20. After discussing the avian flu outbreak at our turkey and chicken farms, the board will turn at 10:30 to the application of Terri Petter to open a petting zoo in Deadwood. Petter wants to “educate” South Dakotans by letting them pet the wolf pups she raises before she takes them back to Minnesota to kill them for their fur.

But I should be careful about such statements. Petter appears to think that such statements are actionable lies:

Asked about the passionate opposition she faced and claims that her attraction is simply a front for a fur farm, Petter dispelled what she called “lies” and said she had one wolf that was 12 years old and an arctic fox that was 13.

“The accusations are ridiculous,” she said. “Our visitors have seen the same animals year after year. They even know their names and identify with the animals. Opponents are twisting facts and it’s libel and it’s slander” [Tom Griffith, “Opponents of Proposed Deadwood Petting Zoo Claim It Is Front for Fur Farm,” Rapid City Journal, 2015.05.18].

Ridiculous? No, the accusations that Petter runs a fur farm come from Petter’s own deposition in her legal battle with the town of Eureka, Minnesota, where she has faced nuisance complaints over her Fur-Ever Wild animal attraction. On December 19, 2012, attorney Stephanie A. Angolkar, representing Eureka, asked Petter (who apparently doesn’t know enough to shut off her cell phone during a legal proceeding) about the animals she owns through Fur-Ever Wild. Petter said she breeds and skins the wolves on her farm for fur:

Deposition of Teresa Lynn Petter by attorneys Stephanie A. Angolkar and Chad D. Lemmons on behalf of Town of Eureka, December 19, 2012, pp. 22-23.
Deposition of Teresa Lynn Petter by attorneys Stephanie A. Angolkar and Chad D. Lemmons on behalf of Town of Eureka, December 19, 2012, pp. 22-23.
Deposition of Teresa Lynn Petter by attorneys Stephanie A. Angolkar and Chad D. Lemmons on behalf of Town of Eureka, December 19, 2012, pp. 24.
Deposition of Teresa Lynn Petter by attorneys Stephanie A. Angolkar and Chad D. Lemmons on behalf of Town of Eureka, December 19, 2012, pp. 24.
Deposition of Teresa Lynn Petter by attorneys Stephanie A. Angolkar and Chad D. Lemmons on behalf of Town of Eureka, December 19, 2012, pp. 25.
Deposition of Teresa Lynn Petter by attorneys Stephanie A. Angolkar and Chad D. Lemmons on behalf of Town of Eureka, December 19, 2012, pp. 25.

“Which animals are raised for fur” attorney Angolkar asks. “All of them,” replies Petter, with the exception of her pigs, goats, and horses.

I pelted two wolves last night… and there is another two going tonight. And as soon as my vet, which he heard when I was talking, I get my romp, then the rest of them go. There will be 25 within the next three weeks—two weeks [Teresa Lynn Petter, deposition, 2012.12.19, p. 25].

Petter makes clear later in her deposition that she selectively breeds her wolves to get bigger pelts:

Deposition of Teresa Lynn Petter by attorneys Stephanie A. Angolkar and Chad D. Lemmons on behalf of Town of Eureka, December 19, 2012, pp. 40.
Deposition of Teresa Lynn Petter by attorneys Stephanie A. Angolkar and Chad D. Lemmons on behalf of Town of Eureka, December 19, 2012, pp. 40.

Rule number one, wild wolves are from 70 to 90 pounds. My wolves, the females are 90 pounds. The males are 130. You work for years to get those blood lines. That is the difference between making them—keep them two years or being able to pelt them for one year. The yearlings—our yearlings are bigger than the ones in the wild. So, you breed for size [Teresa Lynn Petter, deposition, 2012.12.19, p. 40].

Petter is not running a wild animal refuge. She will not bring wild wolves to Deadwood to educate paying customers. She breeds wolves, separates the pups from their mother, hands them around for $20 a pet, and then kills them for their fur.

Not that the Animal Industry Board will be too concerned with what Petter does with her animals when she takes them back in Minnesota. Our regulators will likely only consider whether Petter can run a clean operation that doesn’t put Deadwood residents or other critters at risk.

On that score, the Animal Industry Board might want to take a look at conditions at Petter’s tourist attraction/fur farm in Minnesota. An experienced animal control officer from South Dakota, who has specialized in canine behavior and animal cruelty, visited the facility in an unofficial capacity earlier this spring and provided me with the following description of the conditions at Fur-Ever Wild:

…Upon arrival we were given a tour of the facility by a young female. She took us first by arctic foxes. There were two foxes in each cage. Both cages were smaller than appears healthy for these animals. They were approximately 5 feet by 5 feet. Comparable to half of an average parking space in a parking lot. The bottom of the cages were mud and/or feces. One of the foxes had what appeared to be a chicken breast in his mouth and was running circles in his cage repeatedly. Even upon exit over an hour later the animal was still running the bottom of the cage.

There are also approximately 20 to 30 chickens running loose on the property. They have access to enter many of the animal’s cages. They also have access through the fence of every animal pen we saw. Many of the display items, benches, pens, etc are covered in chicken feces. When asked if the chickens ever fly into the pens with the wolves, our guide advised that they do on occasion and are eaten.

The next stop was the wolf enclosures. There are 4 separate enclosures for 4 separate packs. Two of the enclosures house about 7 wolves. The size of those two seemed the most adequate of the enclosures. However, the first pen had no water source visible. After about an hour there was a hose being run into the pen that created a small stream of water. The other pen had a small bucket tied to the fence that had water. This bucket would be adequate for two large dogs. One of the wolves began digging in the bucket dumping out the water. Terri, the owner, stated that happens all the time. She said people will complain to her that the wolves don’t have water all of the time but this is why.

In the second large pen there is an attached basic dog run. There was a female wolf inside. Terri advised that this wolf has bite wounds from a fight and she has to keep her separated until the wounds heal.

In between these two pens is a small enclosure housing 4 wolves. Our guide stated that this is a male and female pair and their two pups that were a year old. All four were full size. The pen was about 10 foot by 6 foot. Equivalent to about two parking spaces. We were told these wolves were separate because they were not hand raised and weren’t people friendly. There was not enough room for these animals to get any adequate exercise.

The fourth pen was comparable to a large back yard. It also had about 5 to 7 wolves inside [eyewitness account of conditions at Fur-Ever Wild, submitted to Dakota Free Press May 2015].

This animal expert found similar unsanitary and cramped conditions among the mountain lions, raccoons, and other creatures housed at Fur-Ever Wild. Then the visitor saw the wolf-pup enclosure:

The final stop was the pet and play with the wolf pups. There were three pups and we were told they were 18 weeks. The employee stated that they take the pups from their mothers between two to three weeks so they are people friendly. They were in a small room. With no rules, or concern for disease they let us in the room with the pups.

The animal control officer says Fur-Ever Wild fails to meet basic standards for the health and safety of both the captive animals and visiting humans.

There was no prevention methods even as simple as washing your hands. There wasn’t even a place to wash your hands. There was one bottle of hand sanitizer in the middle of the park that I just happened upon. Outside animals have complete access to these caged animals. Are these animals vaccinated against rabies? Canine influenza is becoming a serious epidemic and can be spread through contaminated objects such as people’s shoes. These are just a couple of examples of disease and illness. In addition, the chicken feces is everywhere. All of the cages were muddy and had feces. A breeding ground for disease. The chickens are flying in and out of cages and also pecking in cages flinging feces and anything else outside of the pens.

In addition to disease concerns there is also a concern for human safety. Our guide said she had been working there for less than two months. She described going inside the wolf pens and that they are just like dogs. Terri also described going into the wolf pens with the animals. Also the fact that they move the bobcat around from pen to pen. Not sure if there are safety measures in place for moving a large cat but that could be a concern. Also people can easily stick their hands in cages. A child could easily make a serious mistake. One of the mountain lions was watching a kid running around. We were right in front of the cage and he wouldn’t even look at us. He was stalking this running child. The guide said it was because the cat was attracted to the kids red shorts.

Deadwood officials chickened out of their responsibility to regulate Fur-Ever Wild’s proposed petting zoo, with mayor Chuck Turbiville saying it’s not his job but the state’s and the USDA’s to respond to the concerns raised by opponents of Petter’s wolf operation. Tomorrow, the state Animal Industry Board will have a chance to pick up Deadwood’s slack, review Petter’s record, and determine whether she is bringing safe and healthy animal practices to South Dakota.


31 Responses to State Board Hears Deadwood Wolf Petting Zoo App Wednesday; Expert Raises Health, Safety Concerns

  1. I saw this story on Facebook and it made me sick. The animals are not kept in proper enclosures (akin to puppy mills.) They live in filth. The pups are taken from their mothers far too soon.She lies about pretty much everything with no conscience at all about what she does and kills these beautiful animals only to make money from their pelts. All she cares about is the fur and the money. WTF happens to the rest of the animal? I’m willing to bet that they are thrown away or possibly fed to the remaining animals until she kills them too. This whole thing infuriates me!

    And before somebody starts with the whole BS argument that cattle,hogs,sheep,chickens etc. are raised for human consumption…don’t even bother to go there. What this woman does is not at all the same thing. She’s just plain greedy,cruel,and twisted. What’s next? She has already admitted to killing horses for meat…I would not be the least bit surprised when she starts doing the same thing to dogs,cats,and other companion animals.

  2. How much money is she gonna pay the powers to be? In a republican governed outfit, it is all about the money. The only ones who have the loot to buy wolf pelts and other exotics are the well heeled. Deadwood and South Dakota will have no problem with Terri as she is one of them. The wolf is a metaphor for devouring the weak, that is why they are popular (dead of course) to the powers to be. The Wolf of Wall Street comes to mind.

  3. Vickie I agree with you that killing animals for food is different than killing soley for the hide. Although I must say some of the animals we eat aren’t treated any better. A hog confinement operation where the average hog has just enough room to stand in one direction and perhaps lay down occasionally is hardly showing respect to the animal, and many feed lots have livestock wading around in their own feces and urine to the point they have to wash the cattle before they load them in the stock trailers on their way to the sale barn.

    What probably bugs me more about this woman is how she presents the false image of these animals being so cute and cuddly and lets kids pet them and play with them which indicates she might actually care… until a few days later when she takes another group of wolves out to the shed to skin. Disgusting.

    As to the horse issue, I guess I will never understand why people feel it is ok to kill hogs and sheep and cattle and deer etc. etc. for food yet they are opposed to killing horses for the same purpose. Why is this? Because the horses are pretty to look at? A domesticated deer is just as friendly if not more so, and just as attractive yet we have no problem killing them for food. So I don’t have a problem with killing horses if in fact it is done for food.

    I draw the line at killing simply for pleasure, for trophies, or for the pelt/skin alone. That, to me, doesn’t respect the animal thus I can’t support it.

  4. Joseph Nelson

    Hopefully the Animal Industry Board in Minnesota visits the site, and puts things in order. Either she will need to clean up her act, or they will shut her down. Although….sometimes laws can be interpreted broadly, and having grown up on a hobby farm, the battle against animal feces is constant. We raised rottweilers and saint bernard’s, and I can tell you that they could put out a lot of scat….and chickens just plain poop everywhere. The water thing bothers me though. We went to a Fleet & Farm type store to get water tubs for the dogs, specifically ones that could not be tipped over, and even had a heater so that the water did not freeze in the winter. just using buckets is foolish; of course it is going to get kicked or dumped over.

  5. Daniel Buresh

    I never have understood the horse meat thing either, Craig. It’s akin to Indians thinking we are nuts for eating cows. Cultural differences. Unless their is an environmental impact involved(Shark fin, whales), you can eat any species you like as far as I am concerned. Even in those cases, I believe it can still be done with respect to maintaining their existence.

    As far as the feces goes, like my buddy said, “show up on a friday and you would think I don’t take care of my dog’s kennel. Show up on a saturday afternoon and it will look pristine.” This was exactly why the Turner County dog raid was such a fiasco. The dog rescuers failed to show the judge the saturday pics and they simply showed the friday pics which painted a much worse scene. You can make an owner look bad if you really want to, and the dumb rescue leader, Rosie, did just that while keeping evidence from a judge. You see how that ended for them?

  6. John Tsitrian makes the point that a petting zoo of any sort, not to mention for captivity-bred fur-farm wolf pups, doesn’t make much business sense in Deadwood:

    http://theconstantcommoner.blogspot.com/2015/05/hey-lady-with-wolf-petting-farm-take.html

  7. Daniel, the visit documented above spoke of unsanitary conditions spread throughout the facility, not just in a cage or two. It spoke of a general lack of space for all of the caged creatures. Are you saying that if we came the next day, we’d find the animals all back in bigger cages?

    And Daniel, do you have any defense for Petter’s apparent contradiction of her own sworn deposition?

  8. What a thoughtless and inhumane person she must be to try and profit through such suffering. I wish her friend “Hannibal” from Waseca would come and visit her for dinner.

  9. Glad he isn’t my mayor. “Not my problem,” is not the attitude I’d want my mayor taking on these humanity & health issues. I’d make it my priority to oust him for turning a blind eye and being afraid of taking a stand on this. Hopefully what goes around comes around for her. Cruelty to animals should not be tolerated.

  10. Deb Geelsdottir

    I don’t recall hearing anything about her in MN, and that surprises me. If I do, I’ll link to it.
    Jenny, what have you heard?

  11. Bill Dithmer

    First, I have no problem with what you call a fur farm. You dont get good money for bad pelts. And I like fur. Those animals were put here for a reason, fur!

    And I find the use of the words “puppy mill” a f—–g insult to every breeder like myself that worked hard to give their animals the best of everything. I worked a lot of 24 hr days so my facilities were spotless. My whelping house was controlled both in temperature and humidity. And you could eat off the damn floor. I made a lot of money because the quality of my dogs was first rate. There were no shortcuts, either in their nutrition or their basic health.

    Im just curious here, where is the documentation your talking about Cory? Let have a look at those facts. One man in a courtroom with an axe to grind aint gonna get to far without the evidence on multiple occasions.

    One more thing and then I’ll move on. Some of you continue to eat meat while trashing the people that raise that meat. If you can find a way to get real meat without the birthing process, without the growing process, and in enough quantity to feed the world, without any pain to the animal, get after it.

    Here’s the deal I dont like petting places. It gives the public unreal expectations of what a wild animal is. Now add wloves to that mix and the signal your putting out only complicates things. Wolves are dangerous animals, they will decimate a sheep herd in a night, and a good pack will down twenty cattle in the same time. And they dont just kill for food, they kill for fun.

    Aren’t there any smart people left in SD? All this bitching about one little animal park. Its an easy fix if you want them out. Honestly folks this is a two phone call problem at most. If it had been done at the first this would all be over by now. But no, its easier to bitch then do what has to be done. Its legal, and the only course of action you are left with now. You have rules and laws for these things, why are you beating your heads on the wall over this?

    The Blindman

  12. Daniel Buresh

    I never spoke about the sizes of the cages. That is something that I would bet none of us would agree on. A small cage to one person is a perfectly sized cage to another. I am simply stating that a single visit is not going to cut it. I would bet that on another visit after cleaning, the sanitary conditions are not an issue. This is why multiple visits are needed before any judge is going to do anything about it. Also, I’m not sure what sort of contradiction you are pointing too.

  13. Deb Geelsdottir

    Blindman, clearly your dog breeding program was not a “puppy mill”. There are such things, and they deserve the name because the facilities are not clean. The animals are not well fed, medical care is atrocious if not totally lacking, food and water are minimal, animals are bred as rapidly as possible without regard to the female’s health.

    That’s what a puppy mill is. I haven’t seen the wolf place, so I don’t have an opinion on it, except to say that what I’ve read here doesn’t sound good.

  14. Ms. Vickie, I think your somewhat foul language was kind of cute. And if you are the same Ms. Vickie that used to push for and had that one insaner bill killed because of the involvement of the HSUS anti-meat/fur/kittyhunting/claw-necklace group, then I for one am glad to see you back! I hope you learned that the HSUS is a little bit like Mr. Sibby or the Latensloggers. If they latch onto your cause it goes down with a big fat leetch on the boil under its tit.

    It is OK to kill and eat animals, you are right. But we should not be mean to them.

  15. Mr. Dithmer, I grok your words. This ineffectiveness is a major symptom of the failure of the Democrat party in South Dakota. And why the leech party is sucking away what little life there is left in it.

  16. Thank you grudz,but I’m not the Vickie of which you speak. Although,I do despise the HSUS. They claim to be animal advocates,but truth be told,they kill more animals than they save. That’s a pretty well known fact among the animal loving folks that are on to their scummy activities. It’s also well known among these same people that the HSUS collects a boatload of money from those that donate to them without knowing what the HSUS really does. http://www.awesomeocean.com/2014/07/31/breaking-hsus-loses-charity-rating/

    I do fully support the work of SDFACT. They are the ones that worked to pass the law that makes animal abuse/cruelty a felony in SD as well as getting dog breed bans outlawed in SD and pushed to kill the other bill that you spoke of. I wish that I could take the credit for their work,but I’m too honest to lie and claim to be the Vickie that took charge of doing what needed to be done.

  17. Bill D., the documentation is above: Ms. Petter is saying people are lying about her operation, while she says in her own deposition (document #1) that she breeds wolves for fur and the letter from a visitor (Document #2) supports what neighbors of the fur farm have contended, that the place is unsanitary. As for the relative importance of the operation, sure, Keystone XL, for instance, is a bigger threat to South Dakota, but Petter attracts my attention because she appears to be another exploiter coming to South Dakota. She also appears to be somewhat of a bully online. I consider it worthwhile to address her unsanitary business practices.

    Daniel, the nuisance complaints in Minnesota seem to support the eyewitness account I offer above that the unsanitary conditions are not just a matter of catching the fur farm on one bad day before regularly scheduled cleaning but rather a regular state. The contradiction is Petter’s branding of complaints about her operation as “libel and slander” when the complaints appear to be true and motivated by genuine concern for animal and human safety.

  18. Daniel Buresh

    Cory,
    I went and did a little more research on the place and it appears that there are many “animal lovers” out to get them. I’m sure it is expected. This is why investigations are done by the authorities. The anti’s will do all they can to shut them down and that means making complaints when ever possible for even the most minor things. As I said before, I could show up on a specific day and be able to make a complaint, but those who raise animals know that its not always easy to keep things clean 24/7.

    I think the anti’s are being a bit dramatic when they say “a front for”. That, to me, suggests illegal activity. Having a petting zoo of animals that will be raised and slaughtered is simply another revenue line to make up for costs that will already occur. I’m sure she has many animals that are breeders or have just become part of the family. That’s not to say a majority aren’t specifically there for their fur. It’s pretty easy to see the agenda of those against it. What she is doing is perfectly legal and I have no problems with it.

  19. Yeah, yeah, animal activists file lots of complaints, so the antis must all be wrong.

    I don’t necessarily mind revenue lines, Daniel, but Petter seems to have trouble being honest about it. Now Petter is telling the AP that she does indeed farm fur but that she only skins her animals when they die a natural death. That differs from the deposition testimony in which she said animals were bred and skinned on a routine basis for fur.

    “Perfectly legal” isn’t the full question. Petter is breeding domesticated wolves and advertising them as wild. Petter appears not to be raising these animals in the healthiest conditions. Petter appears to put both the animals and the visitors to her Minnesota facility at risk in ways that may violate the law. All of that seems problematic and worth investigating before we say “Welcome to the community!”

  20. Daniel Buresh

    So what is the rate? How many are used for fur? How many are bred for other reasons? Beaver gland extracts are worth a small fortune. Rarely do these place stick to one thing.

    A domesticated wolf is a dog, void of their original animalistic behavior. These are more like trained wild animals. Either way, that is pretty weak criticism. You have no direct evidence of violations which is why they start an investigation. I could argue everyone of those supposed broken laws.

    Let’s just put it in simple terms. You guys don’t like fur farms and you will do everything you can to stop it or stop others from supporting it through other means. Had this place maintained the cleanest, largest cages and followed everything to a T….these same nuts would be screaming to high heaven. I have no time for it. You want to eat a dog, go for it. You want to eat a horse, go for it. You want to eat a baby seal, go for it. As long as it is legal, no one has the right to push their moral beliefs on others.

  21. mike from iowa

    Petter’s story has more holes than Swiss cheese.

  22. Daniel “As long as it is legal, no one has the right to push their moral beliefs on others.”

    With all due respect Daniel, what are laws actually based upon? To some degree many of our laws boil down to moral or ethical differences.

    We outlaw prostitution not because it causes harm, but because at some point people thought it was a moral sin. We have certain communities that outlaw the sale of alcohol on Sunday – again due to their personal views on the issue (aka morality).

    Abortion is legal, yet we have opponents fighting every day to overturn it. Would you suggest to those people that they should just give up and shut their mouths because they don’t have a “right to push their moral beliefs on others”? What about those who campaign against capital punishment – is that not a moral issue? Perhaps those who champion the idea for gay marriage should just accept the status quo and believe because it is illegal today they have no right to suggest the law be changed?

    Same story with using animals for their hides or fur. It may be legal, but some argue it isn’t ethical and therefore would like to change society for what they deem to be better. Is that any different than those who felt segregation was an injustice and needed to be resolved? Is that any different than those who fought for women’s rights?

    Our system of laws only is as good as the people they apply to. We have a duty to improve society and as we advance we are likely to discover what we once thought was acceptable is no longer so. Perhaps you call the types of people who fight for a cause “nuts”, but history often calls them several other names such as patriots, activists, or luminaries.

    I have no doubt in my mind that one day we will look back upon ourselves and question why we ever felt it was acceptable to raise animals for decoration, clothing, or food. Personally I’m not there yet as I’m very much a carnivore and it probably took three or four cows to construct the interior of my vehicle… yet I acknowledge the potential future and I have already witnessed steps being taken in this regard. Does this mean I’m “wrong” when I eat meat? All depends upon perspective, but I’m sure there are growing number of those who find the consumption of animals to be an issue of morality.

  23. Daniel Buresh

    Craig, no one is trying to change the laws and that’s what drives me up a wall. I am not stating no one should either. For example, abortion is legal, so going after a clinic and trying to stop it from opening just because you morally disagree with it is wrong. Attacking the clinic and not attacking the laws is what is wrong. If you want to stop the clinic from opening, go after your legislators and get something done. Going after those who follow the law is what ticks me off. People personally threatening or evening killing doctors for performing legal activities is what is wrong. Making it a personal vendetta is what is wrong. Of all places, I figured Minnesota would have done something about this long before SD if they felt it was wrong. Instead, people take it upon themselves to play the police, acting as if their ulterior motives don’t blind them to what they are pursuing. This is why the truly bad places get off. When the “Rosies” of the world feel they can distort things to their benefit. I trust a staunch vegan investigating a fur farm as much as I trust a christian investigating evolution.

    Also, I don’t foresee us ever looking back at using animals to our benefit as a bad thing. We are the apex predator. Since the beginning of time, in every animal species, we depend on others for our existence as do they. There is just way too many emotions in these things and that never ends well. I try to stay strictly scientific when determining my morals. It’s taken long enough to get rid of the brainwashing I had as a child.

  24. Daniel I do think there are many people trying to influence legislation. These are the same groups that pushed to make abusing animals a felony, and some of the same people would love to see such fur farms made illegal. I’m not suggesting they will be successful anytime in the next 40 years, but they do try to push those views via legislation on a regular basis.

    I think what is important here is that people have the right to their voice. People have a right to protest, the right to reach out to legislators, city councils, and rule makers. If they go to a site and chain themselves to a door to prevent someone from accessing it then they will be arrested, but offering their opinions and trying to make their voice heard is not only legal – but protected by our Constitution.

  25. Daniel Buresh

    As long as they know it is just opinions, and not trying to play it off as fact. Let the authorities do their investigations and stay out of the way. If they are found to be in compliant with all laws, will they be willing to apologize for causing undue hardships for no reason other than their moral objections? Guilty or not, the damage is already done.

  26. “unofficial inspection”? That’s all b——t and opinion. You guys are on a witch hunt that is unfounded, basing your opinion on out-of-context testimony and speculation and what you are told by someone with an agenda. NO animals are ever killed, they all have NAMES for God sake! Most of you ‘outraged’ citizens have never even set foot in this state let alone the property.

  27. James, I’m on no witch hunt. The visit I report from an animal expert is not BS. It happened. And doesn’t Terri Petter herself say she kills animals for fur?

  28. No, the wolves are not vaccinated for rabies, since there is no vaccination tested and approved for use on wolves. Biologists assume it would probably be effective, since they are so close in relation to dogs.. but no studies have been done on it’s effectiveness in wolves.

  29. I’m reading through the blogs, legal documents, etc. on the subject. Some things are still unclear, but I think I can offer one point of clarification.

    The author asked above: “Daniel, do you have any defense for Petter’s apparent contradiction of her own sworn deposition?” That is, the “apparent contradiction” between statements that 1) “the animals are killed for their fur” and “the animals are allowed to live out their natural lives.”

    Daniel Buresh replied above: “I’m sure she has many animals that are breeders or have just become part of the family. That’s not to say a majority aren’t specifically there for their fur.”

    In other words, it’s important to keep in mind that there are two operations, and two types of animals: A) exhibit animals, and B) fur-farm animals. We fail to communicate when we get angry. Ms. Petter gets angry when she thinks she’s being accused of killing the exhibit animals (A) for fur, and her opponents get angry when they think she’s denying that the fur-farm animals (B) are killed for fur.

    In order to address the underlying issues, I think it’s important, first, to clarify this point. There are a number of issues, here, on the proper treatment of wildlife in captivity. This particular fur-production facility, now that it’s made it to the news, can serve as an illustration and a motivation to address those issues. We have rules regarding the taking of wildlife that are more strict in the wild than they are on the farm. We have large loopholes in the rules regarding the treatment of wildlife in captivity. Let’s address those issues. The ALDF lawsuit regarding captive Gray Wolves and the ESA should be a good opportunity to address some of them, but it will probably be limited to one listed species: the Gray Wolf. There are other “Protected Wild Animals” in fur farms. Let’s take a look at them, too.

  30. Fur-Ever Wild’s neighbors have been concerned about the safety and sanitation at the MN facility and horrible stenches that come from the property that reduces their quality of life. Many people, including neighbors and former volunteers, have concerns about safety and sanitation of the property both for the visitors and the animals themselves. (Plenty of meat-eating animal lovers don’t want animals treated badly regardless of the purpose for which they are or will be used. This isn’t just “vegans”.) Many people are also concerned about the fact that the owner lies about what she does and promotes the illusion to the public that she is operating something akin to a refuge or shelter or other “educational” facility. Based on the false image she fosters, she successfully solicits donations (both cash and supplies) and free labor in the form of volunteers. People routinely pay admission to what they believe is anything but a fur farm. She tells people that she is a fur farm in name only – that MN law forces that designation on her – but that she only pelts animals that die of natural causes. It’s not true. Persuading people to part with their hard-earned cash by pretending to be something you aren’t while deliberately concealing what you are, is fraud.

  31. Good point, Lisa Westfall, about operating and soliciting donations to a non-profit “educational” organization under false pretenses. In addition to the need to reform the captive-wildlife and fur-farming industries.