If Terri Petter’s own bad business and media sense hadn’t led to the closure of her pelting-wolf exhibit in Deadwood after just ten weeks of operation, perhaps the Animal Legal Defense Fund would have. The San Francisco-based ALDF just issued Petter an ultimatum: stop killing and skinning wolves at your Minnesota “Fur-Ever Wild” facility in 60 days, or ALDF sues for violations of the Endangered Species Act:
The Lakeville, Minnesota, business displays wolf pups in a petting zoo and later skins them for their fur, according to statements made by owner Terri Petter. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is asking Fur-Ever Wild to agree to stop killing and skinning wolves or the organization will file suit in 60 days.
The Gray Wolf, canis lupus, is a listed species under the Endangered Species Act. ALDF alleges that by using wolf pups as an attraction in its petting zoo, then later skinning them for their fur—in the process killing them—Fur-Ever Wild is violating Section 9 of the Act and is subject to civil or criminal penalties.
“Fur-Ever Wild shows contempt not only for the lives of magnificent endangered animals but also for federal law,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “We hope Fur-Ever Wild will cease its wolf-killing operation in the next 60 days but, if not, we intend to sue to assure the law is enforced” [Animal Legal Defense Fund, press release, 2015.12.02].
Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act says we cannot “(E) deliver, receive, carry, transport, or ship in interstate or foreign commerce, by any means whatsoever and in the course of a commercial activity, any such species; (F) sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any such species” listed as endangered. ESA Section 10 allows the Interior Secretary to issue permits to so handle listed species “for scientific purposes or to enhance the propagation or survival of the affected species,” but those permits don’t seem to extend to Petter’s commercial purposes.