Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers led a joint investigation and served a search warrant Friday morning at Howling Timbers, an animal rehabilitation facility in Muskegon that is believed to be illegally breeding and housing animals, including “wolf dogs” – a crossbreed between a wolf and dog (or another wolf dog) that is illegal in Michigan unless necessary permits are obtained.
During today’s search, officers removed six red foxes, three coyotes, four eastern box turtles and two fawns. Other non-native wildlife remains on-site, including 47 illegal wolf dogs.
“The DNR is currently investigating the unlicensed facility,” said Steven Burton, assistant chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “We want to make sure that anyone who comes into contact with these animals at this facility is safe, and that all of the animals at the facility are being cared for properly.”
Earlier this week, Conservation Officer Anna Cullen obtained a search warrant through the 60th District Court in Muskegon after investigating an informant’s tip she received in August. The informant told Cullen that in July a young child lost an arm after being attacked by a dog at Howling Timbers, 6806 E. Evanston Ave.
Cullen received a copy of the bite report which had been filed through Kent County Animal Control. The report confirmed that on July 23, a 2-year-old child stuck an arm into a cage at Howling Timbers and a dog latched onto the arm. One of the Howling Timbers volunteers attempted to free the child’s arm.
Brenda Pearson, owner of Howling Timbers, is the child’s grandmother.
The Michigan DNR, the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development are investigating Pearson for operating the facility without required permits.
Cullen and fellow Conservation Officer Jackie Miskovich spoke with Pearson at the facility in