Wolfdog rips off toddler’s arm at unlicensed animal rehabilitation center, officials say – Crime Online

On Friday, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources seized several animals from an unlicensed facility where a wolfdog allegedly attacked a 2-year-old child months earlier.

The agency confirmed in a statement that authorities took several animals – including three coyotes, two fawns, 47 wolfdogs and six red foxes – during the execution of a search warrant at Howling Timbers Wildlife Sanctuary in Muskegon. the owner of the establishment, Brenda Pearson, told the Detroit News that she holds a refuge license with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and is awaiting a response from MNR regarding a filed wildlife rehabilitation permit.

“We only found out today that we don’t have a wildlife (rehabilitation) license,” Pearson told the outlet on Friday, noting that Howling Timbers has housed wolfdogs for 27 years.

In July, a wolfdog allegedly tore off the arm of Pearson’s 2-year-old granddaughter after putting her arm in a cage. The DNR said a Howling Timbers volunteer tried to free the toddler’s arm during the attack.

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My granddaughter, Sophia, was involved in an incident at Howling Timbers in July. Although she never showed…

posted by Howling Timbers Animal Sanctuary to Friday, October 9, 2020

An anonymous tip contacted authorities about the alleged incident in August, leading authorities to obtain a search warrant last week.

MNR noted that wolfdogs are a non-native species and it is illegal to breed them in Michigan without the proper permits. Pearson said on Facebook that she has never bred wolfdogs, but it’s not uncommon for wolfdogs to be pregnant when brought to her.

Pearson reportedly confirmed to authorities in September that she did not have a license. However, she now claims that the DNR inspected her facility in July, shortly before the attack, and did not mention any problems with permits.

“She has applied for licenses from different departments but is not going through the inspection process – she has not completed all of her applications. An application is not a permit,” said Anna Cullen, conservation officer.

The agency noted that she also executed a search warrant at the Pearson facility in 2008, which led authorities to revoke her wildlife rehabilitation license in 2010.

Pearson reportedly has a history of criminal charges, including failing to alert authorities to an escaped bear and keeping animals in unsanitary conditions. It is unclear whether she will face criminal charges in light of the incident.

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[Featured image: Michigan Department of Natural Resources]

Benjamin M. Yerger