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Howling Timbers responds to DNR investigation

Posted at 10:41 PM, Oct 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-11 22:45:13-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is removing six foxes and four turtles from Howling Timbers Animal Sanctuary in Muskegon as part of an ongoing investigation into the facility.

Howling Timbers owner Brenda Pearson submittied an application for these animals via a wildlife rehabiliation permit in June.

"They sounded like they needed me," Pearson said. "I get so many calls about wildlife and there's so few rehabbers because it's very expensive, very time consuming, nobody wants to do it."

Pearson said she spent more than $3,000 and built pens for raccoons and deer preparing for the permit, but those animals are now gone.

"I'm sick. I'm literally sick. I can't focus and I'm very depressed at the time, just wondering why."

Lieutenant Gerald Thayer with the DNR said that during an investigation into the validity of Howling Timbers' license, they received a tip that one of the 47 wolf dogs living at the facility but off Pearson's granddaughter's arm in July.

This tip turned out to be true.

"Nobody knows exactly what happened that day. Not I, not anybody that was here," Pearson said. "She's pulling and he's pulling, does her elbow get stuck at the triangle of the chain link fence? Could that cause it?"

The DNR is citing the Wolf Dog Cross Act of 2000 in their investigation, which says that the animals need to be permitted through the most local form of government within the county.

Pearson claims that they're licensed through the Department of Agriculture, providing Fox 17 with the permit from 2010.

Fox 17 reached out for clarification from the Department of Agriculture, but has yet to hear back from them.