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Top, a wolf-dog hybrid at the Lockwood Valley Animal Rescue Center where a group of 29 such animals were rescued from Alaska last week.
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Above, a secure 10 foot high, double chain-link compound has been built enclosing two hillsides where the animals can finally run.
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Held on 8-foot chains as tourist attractions, in mid-December the 29 wolf dogs were cut free and neutered. Volunteers crated and flew them to the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center way station.
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Lori Lindner, Ph.D. and Matthew Simmons in Alaska for the rescue of 29 wolf dogs that were to be euthanized by the state of Alaska. Fourteen of them had already found permanent—secure—homes a week after being flown to Lockwood Valley.
By Patric Hedlund
“People want to own a part of the wild…what they don’t understand is that these animals are not pets…they can’t be.”
Lorin Lindner, a Ph.D. psychologist with a master’s in public health, speaks earnestly beside a shimmering double wall of chainlink fencing twice her height that surrounds an entire hillside. To prevent escape, the compound fence has overhangs above and digging guards below—six feet of horizontal chain-link is buried two feet underground.
A primal contralto voice soars in song behind Lindner. The call of a wolf dog is pleasant on the morning air, but it is unheard beyond the boundaries of the 20- acre Lockwood Valley Animal Rescue Center (LARC), nestled in remote foothills surrounded by Los Padres National Forest land.
Twenty-nine wolf dogs were flown from Anchorage, Alaska in mid-December. They’d been kept with 8-foot chains around their necks in cruel conditions as a tourist attraction and were to be euthanized by the state.
Lindner, with her husband Matthew Simmons and LARC volunteers, joined with The International Fund for Animal Welfare to get the animals spayed and neutered, treated for injuries from dehydration and the chains, then placed in specially-built reinforced crates to be flown to Lockwood Valley.
Fourteen of them have already been placed in permanent homes. When The Mountain Enterprise visited the ranch, arrangements had just been made with a veterinarian from Reno, NV to take four of the animals. They, too, will be kept in a special enclosure.
“The wolf dog culture is insidious,” Lindner says, speaking of people who breed wolves with dogs as pets: “these are not dogs.” She tells of their amazing jumping and digging capabilities, and speaks about how hard it is to keep them safe and to keep the community safe. Alaska passed a law against the breeders in 2002, Lindner said.
On Saturday, Dec. 17 volunteers at the nonprofit were cheerfully sawing 400 frozen turkeys into quarters, joking about a second Thanksgiving. Walmart’s landfill diversion program donates meat beyond its “sell by” expiration date. The wolf dogs each eat five to seven pounds of meat a day.
Simmons oversees the compound. He hires veterans to work at the facility, as part of the Warriors and Wolves project. Lindner also founded the Serenity Park Sanctuary at the Brentwood Veterans Hospital, in a therapy program where homeless parrots bond with veterans.
This is part of the December 23, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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