"It seems everything in nature that has beauty also has a price. Let the value of our planet's wildlife be to nature and nature alone." ― Paul Oxton
The exotic animal crisis is real, threatening the lives of thousands of animals across the United States. But, unfortunately, because the wild animal trade is a lucrative, multi-billion-dollar industry, it will not be extinguished any time soon.
Captive-born wolves and wolf dogs are an often-overlooked part of this crisis. They are illegal to own (subject to death for simply existing) or tightly regulated in various states. Many people who purchase these animals from unscrupulous breeders believe that owning a wolf or a wolf dog is the same as owning a domestic dog. But the reality is that most people are unprepared to own these unique animals. They lack a basic understanding of wolf dog behavior and seriously underestimate their specialized containment socialization, diet, and medical care needs.
This lack of understanding is epidemic and often leads to abandonment, neglect, mistreatment, or death at the hands of law enforcement. In the United States, there are an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 wolves and wolf dogs owned as pets. Unfortunately, 90% of pet wolves and wolf dogs born every year are euthanized by the age of two, as per The Gray Wolf Conservation.* There is indeed a true epidemic of animals in need.
To save lives and alleviate these beautiful animals' suffering and premature death, wolf dog rescues and sanctuaries are scrambling to help find safe and legal placements for captive-born wolves and wolf dogs. But the zoos and sanctuaries are full. As a result, there is currently an overwhelming and urgent need for safe, temporary housing where these animals can be assessed and networked to find permanent, qualified owners or appropriately and lovingly cared for until a sanctuary placement becomes available.
The Gray Wolf Conservation Website estimates there are between 250,000 to 500,000 wolves and wolf dogs in captivity in the U.S. Nine out of ten pups die through neglect, abuse, euthanasia, escape, and misunderstanding. The one pup out of ten that does survive usually ends up homeless.
According to the Human Society of the United States, the sale and ownership of exotic animals is a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S. In the last decade, the totals have reached over $31 billion per year. But, sadly, most people don't even realize it is happening.