EXOTICS & WOLF HYBRIDS

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2000:

Wolfsong Ranch moving, tests canine chemosterilant

WILLCOX, Az.––Art and Mary Bellis, cofonders of the Wolfsong Ranch sanctuary, intend to meet a January 1, 2001 deadline for disposing of the 160 resident wolf hybrids, set by the Cohise County Planning and Zoning Commission, by moving to a 440-acre site near Rodeo, New Mexico– 11 times larger than their present site outside Wilcox, Arizona.
Art and Mary Bellis began taking in wolf hybrids in 1988, Mary Bellis told ANIMAL PEOPLE. They incorporated the Wolfsong Ranch Sanctuary Foundation and deeded their property to it in 1996, but ran afoul of neighbors whom Mary Bellis describes as “primarily a family of local ranchers and their friends, employees, and members of the local ranchers’ association.

The opponents’ initial concern, amid the ongoing uproar about restoration of the Mexican grey wolf to the southwest, appears to have been the possibility that wolf hybrids might escape and breed.

“We began sterilizating all of our animals in 1997,” Mary Bellis said. “We had over 40 animals neutered by private veterinarians. As we are in a rural area, 2 5 miles from our closest vet, who is unable to make house calls, we sought alternatives.”

The Remote Area Medical Team , headed by University of Tennessee veterinarian Eric Davis, surgically neutered 56 animals at Wolfsong Rnach in August 1999 and then in May 2000 sterilized 42 more ani – mals with the chemical agent Neutrosol.

“We are now part of the follow-up field studies involving Neutrosol, and I hear it may be approved [for general use] in just a few months,” Mary Bellis explained. “The trials with dogs had been completed when we had our clinic here. The vets are coming again in December to follow up with the animals who were treated with Neutrosol. I have to tell you that it was great stuff, and the animals didn’t even know they had received a shot. The vet, Jennifer Scarlett, used those new little hair needl es, and the animals didn’t even have a turning-toward pain reflex. And it seems to be working. We have no pregnancies.”

New Michigan law

DETROIT – – Michigan will on October 29 become the 32nd state to regulate private possession of wolf hybrids and other large and/or exotic carnivores, when legislation signed by Governor John Engler takes effect, following a 120-day grace period to allow owners of such animals to bring their holding facilities into compliance.

Among other provisions, the Michigan legislation forbids breeding and commerce in wolf hybrids. Michigan Wolfdog Association president Jane VanScoik in early September pledged to fight the ban in court. “Copies of the legislation [SB 705-PA and SB 782-PA 274] are at www.michiganlesislature.org,” say Michigan Humane Society lobbyist Eilen Liska, who has also prepared an extensive fact sheet on what the new laws do, avail – able from her at 248-887-2184.

Harris County bylaw

HOUSTON––The unincorporated portion of Harris County, Texas, has banned keeping “dangerous” species, as defined by a January 1998 ordinance, within 1,000 feet of anyone else’s home or a school.

Animals already in Harris County are “grandfathered” into their present locations, but as of August 27 only one exotic animal keeper had complied with the grand – fathering registration requirement.

The new ordinance was adopted in early August in response to the March 14 mauling of Jayton Tidwell, age 4, by a tiger kept in his uncle’s yard.

The ordinance gained further momentum when in July the Houston SPCA seized four juvenile tigers, a puma, an African lion, and a wolf from Jerry Lynn Schuck, 32, of Crockett, in Houston County. Although Houston County is far north of the city of Houston, which is in Harris County, the case drew extensive coverage by Houston media.

Neighbor Linda Gest told Houston Chronicle reporter J.R. Gonzalez that Shuck bred exotic cats for hunting ranches.

Wisconsin bill fails

MADISON, Wisc.––The Wisconsin Assembly has twice passed a billl introduced by state representative DuWayne Johnsrud (R-Eastman) to regulate the pos- session and care of exotic and dangerous species, but the bill died each time without a vote in the state Senate.

The lack of exotic animal regulations in Wisconsin was spotlighted on August 1 when two people were bitten by a Japanese Macaque who escaped from the home of Jacqeline Thacker, 45, of Dover.

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