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Deadwood Bans Exotic Critters; Wolf Pup Property for Sale, Owner Defiant

The Deadwood City Commission finally got around to passing its exotic-animal ban. The new ordinance, given first reading over a month ago and delayed by some legal questions, does not ban Larry Kurtz from city limits, but it does mean Terri Petter can’t expand her “pet ’em before I pelt ’em” wolf cub exhibit:

With questionable items addressed by legal counsel, the Deadwood City Commission approved the adoption of a “Dangerous Wild/Exotic Animal Prohibited” ordinance Monday, with virtually no discussion following a continuance from the regularly scheduled July 6 meeting of the Deadwood City Commission.

…The grandfathering section reads: “Current owners may be required to obtain a license or permit, register all animals as defined by Chapter 6.04, and comply with any caging, husbandry, handling and other requirements set forth by the City of Deadwood or State of South Dakota. Owners are required to retain proof of ownership prior to the effective date of the law. Owners of grandfathered animals must also maintain veterinary records, acquisition papers or other documents that establish the date the animal was acquired. The current number of dangerous wild animals already owned and placed within the city limits by June 8, 2015 may not increase” [Jaci Conrad Pearson, “Deadwood Adopts Dangerous Wild/Exotic Animal Ordinance,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2015.07.21].

Petter cries discrimination:

Reached by phone Monday night, Petter wouldn’t talk about her plans for the Deadwood site, but said she felt the city was discriminating against her with the ordinance. “It’s pretty bad when a city lets a brand-new business in and lets them spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and then doesn’t let them grow,” she said [Erin Adler, “Lakeville-Area Fur Farm Fur-Ever Wild Sparks Controversy with S.D. Expansion,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 2015.07.21].

If she can’t grow, Petter may go. The Fur-Ever “Wild” business property in Deadwood is listed for sale on

Pet a wolf, buy a pelt—screen cap from real estate listing for site of Fur-Ever Wild wolf-petting exhibit in Deadwood, SD, downloaded 2015.07.25.
Pet a wolf, buy a pelt—screen cap from real estate listing for site of Fur-Ever Wild wolf-petting exhibit in Deadwood, SD, downloaded 2015.07.25.

Meanwhile, back at her fur farm in Minnesota, Terri Petter says she doesn’t plan to comply with her township’s order that she remove the exotic creatures:

Petter, who said her animals are well cared for, has no intention of changing her business — breeding the animals, letting people pet the young, and selling pelts.

“I will never give my animals up, ever,” she said [Adler, 2015.07.21].

Petter’s defiance includes defying federal rules:

Petter won’t say how many animals she has. But U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection records from June note 136 animals, ranging from prairie dogs to pumas. Among them are 38 gray wolves, 18 red foxes and five bobcats.

According to the USDA, Fur-Ever Wild has had 15 instances of noncompliance since 2012, including one warning about exhibiting cougar cubs before vaccination. Other records pointed to animals’ lack of access to water.

Petter said nobody has a perfect record and most issues were with paperwork [Adler, 2015.07.21].

Nobody’s perfect? That comment doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.


  1. Douglas Wiken 2015-07-25

    How about exotic dancers?

  2. mike from iowa 2015-07-25

    So I’m guessing the lack of access to water/paperwork problems were because the wolves didn’t bring a note from mommy?

  3. mike from iowa 2015-07-25

    Then there’s this,if the number of animals can’t increase,what happens to any pregnant females? Do they get euthanized or forced to undergo abortions which wingnuts wouldn’t stand for? Babies can’t be adopted in-state.

  4. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-07-27

    That’s funny Mike.

  5. grudznick 2015-07-27

    I suspect they’d kill the babies.

  6. Alice Johnson 2019-10-19

    To Mike from Iowa:
    Those comments of yours are not funny, and I don’t think it’s alright for you to make light of this subject. She’s going to or most likely killed them all anyway. Her ‘farm’ is akin to death row. Animals are not entertainment nor are they a commodity. She purports on her facebook page to respect Mother Earth, this is terribly misleading knowing what her intentions are regarding wolves. But she fails to mention wolves at all on this site, I saw only lighthearted silly pics with animals and her comments attempting humour.

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