KXLY-TV (Couer d'Alene, Idaho-Spokane, Wash.) reports Wolf People, a wolf sanctuary in Cocolalla, Idaho (about 12 miles outside of Sandpoint), is pushing back against an Idaho Fish and Game decision to suspend its exhibition license.
Wolf People is run by an advocacy organization that equates "prejudice against wolves to the struggle of the human civil rights war." On its website, Wolf People insists it's open for business.
"Some of you have asked, and despite outrageous claims by a local wolf hating group, Wolf People has not been shut down by [their] efforts, or anyone else's," the organization wrote at wolfpeople.com.
Wolf People claims to have 23 wolves, some of which accompany staff to its visitor center and store each day, as well as on visits to schools and local campgrounds. The wolves are never released back to the forest and "spend their entire lives living comfortably in captivity," writes the organization.
The wolves may live in captivity, but they are still wild animals. A Coeur d'Alene woman learned this the hard way when she toured Wolf People in November 2013. Mary Neary told KXLY-TV staff led her and her tour group into various enclosures, normally restricted to trainers, which is where one of the wolves stuck his nose through a fence, grabbed her coat and bit her on the wrist. She says she ultimately took the coat off and let the wolf take off with it; she required a rabies vaccination for the bites on her arm.
KXLY-TV reports that Wolf People has every intention of working with Idaho Fish and Game to remain in compliance.