The Deadwood City Commission gave first reading last night to a new ordinance that would ban exotic animals in town. The ordinance, posted at the bottom of this lengthy city agenda packet, would ban the keeping or selling of “native fur bearers, otter, beaver, fox, fischer, pine martin, badger, possum, porcupine, weasels, flying squirrels, endangered species, native wildlife or dangerous wild animals….” The ordinance defines “dangerous wild animals” to include non-domestic cats, wolves and wolf-dog hybrids, bears, hyena and aardwolf, raccoons, kinkajous, coatimundis, rhinos, hippos, non-human primates, elephants, alligators, crocodiles, caimans, gharials, venomous snakes, anacondas, boa constrictors, and pythons.
The ordinance would also prohibit “slaughter of animals,” which would appear to ban any furring/pelting activities within city limits, unless you kill your critter out of town, then haul the carcass to your in-town shop for skinning.
The ordinance would allow accredited zoos, sanctuaries, and licensed circuses to operate in Deadwood.
Minnesota fur farmer Terri Petter would still be able to operate her newly state-licensed wolf display in Deadwood, thanks to a grandfather clause. However, she and anyone else in town with exotic critters would have to document ownership and date of acquisition, carry at least two million dollars’ worth of liability insurance, and microchip all animals kept in Deadwood. Like the ordinance Petter apparently violated at her base of operations in Eureka Township, near Lakeville, Minnesota, the Deadwood grandfather clause would prohibit Petter from housing any more wolves at her Deadwood site than were present on June 8, 2015.
My ears in Deadwood report that Petter attended last night’s commission meeting, voiced strong opposition to the ordinance, and threatened to sue the city if it passes. The Deadwood City Commission voted 4–1 to approve the first reading and set final reading for July 6. Mayor Chuck Turbiville and Commissioners David Ruth, Mark Speirs, and Gary Todd voted aye; Commissioner Jim Van Den Eykel voted nay.