Minnesota fur farmer Terri Petter blames Deadwood and South Dakota’s overregulation and hypocrisy for the closure of her Fur-Ever “Wild” exhibit of wolf pups and other pelting-stock in Deadwood. However, a series of photos spanning the brief two-month lifespan of the wolf exhibit suggests a more straightforward explanation for the closure of Petter’s business: a lack of business.
A Black Hills correspondent for Dakota Free Press drove by Petter’s wolf exhibit on a regular basis for the last couple months and saw growing signage but no signs of growing commerce.
It is entirely possible that my correspondent happened to drive by and take photos on four days that all just happened to be slow, and that had my correspondent waited to snap those pix just an hour longer each time, that driveway would have been teeming with visitors. But my correspondent reports that the place looked like it does in these photos every time my correspondent drove by, with or without the camera.
The empty driveway suggests the lack of demand led to the demise of Petter’s Deadwood operation. Of course, it’s possible that lack of supply may be shutting her down:
On July 31 (Petter’s birthday, according to her public Facebook information), Eureka Township filed a civil suit against Petter, Dan Storlie, and their fur-farm businesses in Lakeville, Minnesota. Minnesota doesn’t place the court documents online, but I’d speculate this civil suit has something to do with Petter’s unwillingness to comply with Eureka Township’s court-clarified exotic animal ordinance.
Petter blames Deadwood and South Dakota for not letting her expand. But it looks like she wasn’t able to fire up the cash register within the existing business plan that Deadwood generously grandfathered into its new exotic animal ordinance. Don’t blame Deadwood or South Dakota; there are at least a couple obvious, simpler reasons for Petter’s business failure that lie at her own feet.
Update 2015.08.04 16:33 CDT: A copy of Eureka Township’s civil complaint comes to DFP. It outlines what we know: that Petter and Storlie are harboring, breeding, raising, exhibiting, and skinning exotic animals in violation of local ordinance and asks the court to order Petter and Storlie to cease all such activity on their Minnesota property.