Wolfdog Escapes Muskegon County Animal Sanctuary Where Owners Ordered To Abandon Animals

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – A wolfdog hybrid has escaped from a Muskegon County wildlife sanctuary.

The Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office warned the public on Saturday April 9 that the animal was released from its enclosure at the Howling Timbers Animal Sanctuary, 6806 Evanston Road in Egelston Township.

“If you are seen, do NOT approach,” police said in a Facebook post.

The sheriff’s office is working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to track down the wolfhound, a crossbreed that contains varying levels of wolf. Anyone who sees the animal is asked to call 911.

Related: Judge rules Muskegon County Animal Sanctuary must surrender all wolfdogs, two will be euthanized

Howling Timbers – a sanctuary for wolves, wolfdogs and exotic animals that have been neglected, abused or abandoned – has been embroiled in a legal battle since October 2021.

A civil forfeiture case was brought last year after a 2-year-old girl reached an animal enclosure and lost part of her arm. The DNR argued that the owners of the sanctuary, Brenda and James Pearson, were illegally breeding and harboring wolfdogs.

After a months-long hearing to determine the fate of the animal sanctuary, Muskegon County Circuit Judge Annette R. Smedley ruled this week that all wolfdogs should be forfeited to the state.

As part of the judge’s decision, Smedley determined that the owners illegally possessed the animals. The court also ordered the immediate euthanasia of the two wolfdogs who seriously injured the child.

The Pearsons have 21 days to appeal the decision.

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