Urgent! Save the Wolfdogs at Howling Timbers

Urgent: The wolf dogs are running out of time!

We really need your help in fighting for the lives of these wolf dogs. If we don't win this case, and they order them removed, with no place for them to go, there is only one option. It breaks our hearts to even think about that, but it will be out of our hands.  Other sanctuaries have offered to take some of the wolf dogs but most want high content socialized animals and most of ours do not fit that category.  Our animals are true rescues of all different wolf content and many with no desire to interact with people. We allow them that option.  We took in every animal we could without any stipulations including 40 from MDARD seizures.  The same organization that won't even license us now due to staff shortages.  We didn't care what wolf content they were, what color or what temperament.  They all deserved to be rescued.  We need to keep them where they feel safe and comfortable. We need to keep them in their home. We have the best animal attorney. We desperately need funds for her to save the wolf dogs. Please help!  

Donations will be used for legal expenses. If there are remaining funds, they will be used for veterinary and ongoing care for keeping the wolfdogs healthy and safe.
History – In 2000, Michigan banned the private ownership of wolf dogs. Howling Timbers had already been operating as a sanctuary for wolfdogs and quickly filled with animals from MDARD (Michigan Department of Agriculture) seizures, animal shelters, humane societies, and private owner surrenders. We erected spacious enclosures, becoming caretakers for 50 wolf dogs. We were licensed with MDARD and maintained that license until 2018. At that time, two things happened. We received a notice that stated “you are not conducting activities that require an animal protection shelter registration. You provide a home for rescued, surrendered, and seized wolf-dog crosses, which are not in the scope of a dog. We encourage you to reach out to local animal control agencies regarding their regulation of wolf-dog crosses and other exotic animals at the local level.” At the same time, Michigan instituted cost-cutting policies that reduced the number of inspectors available to cover all inspections. We contacted our local animal shelter and the Sheriff’s Department. Their response was their agencies did not regulate wolfdogs. According to 9 CFR 1.1, wolfdogs meet the test for domestic dogs. So, we found it troubling that these various agencies were refusing to inspect facilities that housed wolfdogs and other pet-quality animals. We continued to do adoptions for our animals, other than wolfdogs, but occasionally adopted wolfdogs to legal areas, after vetting the possible owners. We went about caring for the wolf dogs with regular vet-care and good husbandry .
In 2020, we hired an attorney who worked with Muskegon County for a year in an attempt to get a permit through them. They indicated they wanted the wolf dogs microchipped, which we were exempt from, but we went ahead and microchipped all of them. This was completed by our veterinarian of record and the team tasked to do so. We did everything they asked, but still no permit. Recently, we hired an animal specialist attorney, who is more familiar with animal law. Since is it our attorney’s understanding that our license/registration is still in effect, because of MDARD missteps in notification, we want to be in compliance with the legalities of providing an Animal Protection Shelter for all our wolfdogs. We want MDARD to continue inspecting Howling Timbers Animal Sanctuary, so that we can provide a lifelong home for the wolfdogs that reside with our facility. We want to follow the rules. To that end, because of unclear regulations, we took steps to further comply with rules that originally were not mandated by MDARD and went above and beyond the current regulations. We want to comply with the law so that our animals will be safe.
We made a commitment to each of the wolf dogs when we rescued them that they would have a forever home at the sanctuary. These animals have large, spacious enclosures in a natural setting with compatible penmates, a wholesome diet, enrichment, and endless love. The sanctuary is their home. We have been told more than once by members of the public that these animals have made such a difference that they literally say the wolfdogs have saved their family member’s life. An undeniable bond is formed when you connect with these animals. Our director and her husband have been blessed to work with these animals for over 25 years. Our sanctuary does not have paid staff, all being volunteers. The director takes no salary. All funds donated are strictly for all the aspects of care for our animals. Such dedicated volunteerism speaks volumes about our love for these animals.
Our sanctuary has operated on small budgets for many years, but we have always found a way to meet the challenges of running an animal sanctuary. We have taken down a 10' tall chain link fence in the middle of winter to be utilized to create more wolf enclosures. We drive across the state to pick up premium dry kibble at a reduced cost. We do our own repairs and build our own enclosures. Our business phone is a personal phone, not a business phone. We do this to stretch donations so they can be used for direct care. We are very blessed with food donations from local stores and our community. We do, however, need the expertise of our animal attorney. We retained the best, but now need funds for mounting legal expenses. Our director and her husband have emptied their savings and maxed out their credit cards, with no other resources to fund our cause. We need your help to keep the wolfdogs at Howling Timbers in Muskegon, Michigan. Moving them to other sanctuaries would be very stressful for them. Many would have to be sedated by darting from a veterinarian in order to be transported around the country, only to wake up in an unfamiliar area with people they do not know. Many of these animals came to us fearing humans and we have worked with them to gain their trust. Moving them would be a huge step backward in their progress.
We do not know the total needed for legal costs. The longer the case is in court, the higher the cost. Yet, that time is directly tied to the best home for the wolfdogs. An estimate is approximately $20,000. Again, if the legal cost were lower, all donations in excess of the legal fees would be used for veterinary and ongoing care for the animals .All contributions are greatly appreciated and can be tax-deductible. We are a state and federal 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Please visit Howling Timbers Facebook page for more information and please share our fundraiser through Facebook, TikTok, SnapChat, Instagram, etc. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Donations (102)

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  • Robert Pickett
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Jennifer & Don Last Name
    • $250 
    • 2 yrs
  • Melinda Russek
    • $25 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $10 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 2 yrs
See all


Brenda Pearson
Muskegon, MI
Pearsons Howling Timbers
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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