As some of you are already aware, back in March of this year, residents at the LaVern Davis farm called the DNR to report that a Wolf had been visiting there recently, though at that time, I do not remember him saying anything negative about it, or about feeling concern for his livestock, as was later reported in various newspaper articles. In fact, the report that I saw was quite different.
I saw the report on WMTV's NBC 15 nightly news, and quickly became quite disgusted as I watched the farmer proudly bask in what he obviously felt was his fifteen minutes of fame, smiling for the camera as he happily boasted that the animal liked to play with his dogs and seemed to have no problem with the plethora, (my word, not his) of people who had come to the farm to catch a glimpse of the animal and take pictures of it. And, though I harbored plenty of wishful thinking, sadly, I gleaned absolutely no comfort from the DNR representative they interviewed, who basically stated that the animal would not be harmed or forcibly removed, because I knew it was only a matter of time before those exact same people would determine that the animal was dangerous and must be killed.
Unfortunately, that time has come, and although Frank Wendland of W.O.L.F. Sanctuary in Fort Collins, Colorado has graciously offered a life-long home to this Wolf at absolutely NO COST to the state of Wisconsin, and hundreds of people have spoken out against killing it, in favor of either relocating the animal to another part of the state or sending it to W.O.L.F., state officials have ignored the public's outcry and continue to thwart Frank's efforts to save the animal, stating liability issues. In fact, in an update reported by WMTV just this evening, the DNR continued to state liability issues, even though they have been told time and again that W.O.L.F. has $2 million in liability coverage. Therefore, in my opinion, this, coupled with the fact that the DNR'S concern over liability was nowhere to found when LaVern Davis invited all those people over to his farm and allowed them to stalk the animal in order to take pictures of it, should prove to the public beyond a shadow of a doubt that liability is NOT the concern here.
Unfortunately, neither is public opinion. In fact, in a recent interview for the Wisconsin State Journal, Signe Holtz, director of the DNR's Bureau of Endangered Resources boldly stated that, "it is unlikely the letter-writing campaign will cause the agency to alter its plan to trap and kill the wolf", and as a resident of this state, this comes as absolutely no surprise to me.
Unfortunately, the attitude of state officials has always echoed that of either the farmer or the hunter, whose answer has always been to kill rather than to conserve. This is clearly evidenced by the almost constant proposal for the creation, extention or repeating of various hunting seasons in Wisconsin's recent past, aimed at controlling everything from CWD to Morning Doves to feral cats ... and profit, or the loss thereof is most often always the deciding factor. Conversely, the opinions of those residents who are neither farmer nor hunter are rarely even asked for, let alone considered, as is evidenced by the fact that the DNR previously lost the permit allowing them to kill problem Wolves because they did not honor the public comment period.
What's worse, is that these same people seem to think that WE THE PEOPLE have no business telling them what to do, ESPECIALLY if those people do not live in Wisconsin, and this attitude must NOT be allowed to continue! Wolf conservation, or in this case, MURDER, is a world wide issue! It is EVERYBODY'S business, and whether or not you live within a state that warrants the public's opinion regarding that conservation should never be a prerequisite to voicing that opinion. Those who do not live here currently may find themselves moving here for one reason or the other in the future, and because of that possibility alone, those people have a right to be heard and to be considered.
Therefore, I urge you now ... PLEASE! LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! Sign this petition and stop the Wisconsin DNR from getting away with murder!
It has come to our attention that the free-roaming, lone wolf that was reported to the DNR by LaVern Davis back in March has allegedly attacked a dog and a calf on his farm since then, and as a result, the Wisconsin DNR has decided that it must be destroyed, even though the public has recently spoken out against this action, and the DNR clearly has other options.
We have also learned by way of comment from Signe Holtz, director of the DNR's Bureau of Endangered Resources, that the public's opinion as to how this should be handled obviously means very little to the DNR, and thus it is obvious that we must take further action. Consequently, we have created this petition to further explain our position in this matter as well to alert you to the seriousness of our intent to spare this animal's life, and we respectfully request that you give serious consideration to the fact that Animal Welfare issues are global, and therefore, whether or not we are all residents of the state of Wisconsin or not, is irrelevant. Each and every one of our opinions matters, because any one of us may very well consider being a resident of Wisconsin one day, and therefore, how this state handles it's affairs is of obvious importance to us. At the very least, non-residents of Wisconsin are responsible for the majority of the state's tourism revenue, and most of us are interested in much more than just the water parks. Therefore, there is wisdom in giving credence to all of our voices.
The reasons why we are opposed to the killing of this wolf are many, and therefore, we will list them individually, followed by further explanation if necessary.
FACT 1. This animal has been reported as a lone Wolf, and appears to have no mate, offspring or pack mates that would tie him to this area either physically, mentally or emotionally, and therefore, we see no reason why the animal cannot or should not be relocated.
FACT 2. Frank Wendland has already offered to give the Wolf a home at his Sanctuary in Colorado, stating that he will travel to Wisconsin to trap and transport the animal himself at no cost to the state of Wisconsin. And, contrary to the DNR'S claims, he has two million dollars in liability coverage both on and off site, thereby making the liability issues repeatedly stated as the reason why the Wolf cannot be relocated to W.O.L.F. a non-issue.
FACT 3. Even without Frank's offer, the DNR still has plenty of other options. There are literally dozens of other sanctuaries and animal preserves located throughout the United States, including at least three within the state of Wisconsin that are licensed and otherwise qualified to take this animal, and it is certain that at least one of them would be willing to do so if asked.
FACT 4. Until this animal has been evaluated up close, no one can determine with any certainty whether or not this is in fact a wild wolf or a wolfdog, and this, coupled with the fact that the animal is attempting to survive alone has great bearing on the situation.
We believe that it is entirely possible that this is a not a wild wolf, but a wolfdog that someone most likely dumped, either out of fear of being caught with the animal in light of the recent ban, or just out of sheer cruelty. This would explain his acclimation to humans and dogs, and if this is the case, then one needs to consider the fact that this animal has no clue as to how to survive in the wild alone, nor does he understand why he was dumped or what he's supposed to do now, and he needs assistance. He's not being fed, and therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that he may have attacked this calf out of desperate hunger and as a last resort to survive, not because he would do so normally. It must also be considered then, that the same holds true with a wild wolf who has broken away from a pack. If he is not yet acclimated to the environment around him, he may be having trouble finding an adequate food supply, and therefore, it is likely that the attack on the calf is not a normal thing, and is not likely to happen again.
FACT 5. The conditions surrounding the attack on the calf and the dog were not reported, and these conditions need to be taken into consideration before sound judgment can be made as to whether or not this animal is truly dangerous.
Simply put, you can't have it both ways. When this animal was first reported on, it was said to be friendly, that he liked the farmer's dogs and played with them, that he seemed to like humans and showed no desire to cause harm to either, and both photographic and video evidence shown on the news clearly backed these statements. Therefore, the conditions surrounding the attacks on both the calf and the dog need to investigated and considered. Specifically, where there any outside factors that may have prompted them? What was happening at the farm when these attacks occurred? What time of day was it and who was present? Was there food involved? Does his appearance indicate that may be starving? How many people were around at the time and what were they doing? Do people continue to come to the farm to see and photograph the animal? All of these questions need to be asked and answered.
Though whether or not the animal is a wild wolf or a wolf-dog is important for obvious reasons, either way, having strangers approach on a constant basis is bound to confuse and irritate the animal eventually, especially if the animal is already confused and hungry and there is a lot of noise or commotion. Therefore, it seems logical that evaluating the conditions under which this animal is currently living and to which he is being exposed could go a long way in solving the problem. If it is in fact a wild wolf, then he needs to be left alone, period. Wolf or wolfdog, friendly or not, allowing a bunch of people to come out to his farm to follow it around and take pictures of it was completely irresponsible, and the DNR should have reprimanded the farmer and warned the public to leave the animal alone. If he chooses to visit the farm and play with the dogs and he does so without doing harm, so be it. However, this does give the farmer license to make a spectacle of it, and he's lucky no one was hurt then. If it is a wolfdog, then he needs to be FED and CARED for, either by the farmer or someone else more qualified, but he cannot be expected to survive in the wild on his own when he was not raised as a wild animal. Evaluate the conditions and make the appropriate adjustments.
FACT 6. The STORY keeps changing. First it was reported that the wolf injured a calf and a dog, and then tonight on the news it was stated that he LUNGED at the farmer. It would appear that people keep adding to the story just to make it worse, and this isn't the first time this has happened.
When this was first reported on the news, the farmer was happy, the DNR was happy ... there was nothing negative said about the wolf, but when the newspaper reported on it, they said the farmer was VERY unhappy and put a completely negative spin on the whole thing. Then, suddenly, the DNR has decided they need to trap and kill it. This causes suspicion, to say the very least.
FACT 7. People need to be more realistic when it comes to wolves and learn to coexist with them. If we are ever going to truly accomplish the successful reintroduction of wolves to any state, the DNR needs stop promoting the extremely unrealistic view that wolves should, can and will be killed or removed from any area the minute there is an attack on livestock or other animals. This is both unrealistic and costly, and above all, it is entirely unnecessary. People in every area need to finally come to accept the fact that the wolves were here first, as all animals were, and because of that fact, they have the right to continue to be here, maybe even more so than we do. We took their land from them, we continue to do so on a daily basis, and as a result, there is less and less habitat for them to live in and less and less food for them to eat. Like or not, accept the responsibility or not, that is the truth, and as long as we continue to encroach upon their territory, there will always be the possibility of the occasional attack on livestock, and yes, even on domestic animals. It is a simple fact of life. However, that does not mean that it is the NORM, or that it will ever become the norm simply because it happened ONCE. If it had happened more than once, or he had actually killed one of these animals, this decision might be more understandable. However, the fact that this animal merely injured these animals when it is obvious that he could quite easily have killed them speaks volumes, and once does not a dangerous animal make.
We conclude, then, that killing this animal is not and absolutely should not be considered an option when it is most likely that he is not entirely to blame for what has transpired. Consequently, at the very least, we ask that the Wisconsin DNR follow it's own Wolf Management Plan, which states that the only time a wolf can be killed by the DNR is when there is “confirmed depredation” and then, ONLY after other options have been pursued. The Wisconsin DNR has another option, and has no valid reason why this animal should not be allowed to live out his life at W.O.L.F. Sanctuary. Therefore, in the interest of resolving this matter as quickly as possible, we ask that the state allow Frank and his team to come and take the animal back to the sanctuary with them as soon as it can be arranged.
In the event that the animal cannot go to W.O.L.F for any reason that IS valid, before any further judgment or decision is made, we demand that the questions we posed here be investigated and answered to the best of the DNR's ability, and that the animal be humanely trapped and evaluated by a professional, so that whether or not he is a wild wolf or a wolfdog can be determined and a sound judgment based on those findings can be made.