HomeOutdoorsNewsWolf Wildlife Sanctuary Facing Lawsuit & Closure

Wolf Wildlife Sanctuary Facing Lawsuit & Closure

by Caitlin Berard
Wild Wolf in Animal Sanctuary
(Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

A Washington wolf sanctuary is struggling to keep its doors open amid lawsuits from enraged neighbors, dwindling funds, and ongoing permitting issues with the county.

Predators of The Heart, an exotic animal sanctuary housing 15 wolves and more than 50 other species of animals, recently found themselves in a sticky situation. In October 2022, three of their wild wolves escaped their fenced-in enclosure. They then wandered to a nearby residential area and killed a neighbor’s dog.

The unexpected tragedy fanned the flames of fear held by residents already uneasy with the idea of wolves, alligators, and other predatory animals living right down the street from their homes. Terrified of a reoccurrence of the killing, several neighbors banded together to sue Predators of The Heart, with the goal of shutting the wolf sanctuary down permanently.

The wolves are completely gentle and tame with the employees of the sanctuary. They’re still wild animals, however, and more than capable of bringing down a creature they view as prey. Still, the owner of the sanctuary argues they’re only there because of abandonment or abuse and shouldn’t be punished for their natural behavior.

“Everything we do is for the animals,” owner Ashley Carr told King 5 News. “They’re worth the sacrifice. People who come through here can see our heart. We really just want to be part of the community. We want to be an asset, not a burden.”

Wolf Sanctuary Facing Closure, Mass Euthanasia

Until recently, Predators of The Heart was able to keep their doors open by offering guided tours of the sanctuary to the public. For the last year, however, the wolf sanctuary has been unable to give tours due to permitting issues.

The lack of income has only added to the financial strain caused by the ongoing lawsuits, leaving Carr with very few options. “We’re very close to closing up shop,” she said. “It’s really discouraging. If we didn’t have to pay thousands of dollars a month in litigation we would’ve had a few more months to be okay.”

In an effort to save the sanctuary and the wolves and other animals who live there, Carr attempted to move to a friendlier location. Unfortunately, the only suitable property in the area comes with a $2 million price tag and is far out of reach for the sanctuary.

The only option left to Carr is to rehome the animals – a feat easier said than done. Seldom few animal sanctuaries possess the resources to care for wolves and other exotic animals. Because of this, Carr may be forced to euthanize up to 80% of her residents.

“It’s one thing to put an animal down because of a medical issue. It’s another to put them down because people don’t want them here – it’s not fair,” the owner said tearfully. “We just want to do what’s best for the animals, we don’t want to be a burden to people. But we also don’t think animals should be euthanized just because people don’t know all of the facts.”