A trailer suspected of carrying dead wolves from a Dakota County fur farm that is under court order to divest its animals contained only four live foxes and two live raccoons being properly transported, according to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The trailer was stopped during Tuesday afternoon’s rush hour on Interstate 494 by the State Patrol, slowing traffic to a snail’s pace until authorities were satisfied that Fur-Ever Wild wasn’t transporting dead wolves. That would have violated a court order barring the operation from euthanizing its animals.
The fur farm and petting zoo is required to unload most of its exotic animals by next Monday, under a Eureka Township ordinance.
Officials with the State Patrol and DNR confirmed that the animals came from the operation, where owner Terri Petter keeps a menagerie of animals that includes wolves and cougars and allows paying customers to feed and interact with them.
A private investigator working for an animal rights group, also the plaintiff in an ongoing federal lawsuit against the fur farm, had tipped off the State Patrol to the trailer.
It was the latest episode in the saga of Fur-Ever Wild, which has been dogged by controversy and suits for years.
Petter was sued by Eureka Township in 2015 for keeping exotic animals, which township officials said violated their zoning ordinance. After a two-year legal battle, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled last September that Petter could keep a single wolf, since she had one before the township enacted its exotic animals ordinance in 2006. She made a deal with the township to keep four other animals, including a raccoon and a fisher, her attorney Gary Leistico said.
A second lawsuit, also filed in federal court in September by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Lockwood Animal Rescue Center in California, alleges that Petter breeds wolves, only to later kill the animals for pelts.
The groups say Petter is violating the federal Endangered Species Act by allegedly killing and improperly caring for the wolves, and want an injunction to prevent her from keeping them.