On August 1, 2013, Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) was asked by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) to assess and create a plan for the rescue of 84 wolves, wolfdogs and dogs from two facilities in immediate danger of closing in New Hampshire. LARC was told that should these two sites close all of the animals could face immediate euthanasia.
LARC co-founders, Matthew Simmons and Lorin Lindner, flew to New Hampshire and after a full assessment decided that we could indeed help. Thus, NEWARC was born.
Dancing Brooke Wolf Lodge, Bristol, New Hampshire
Upon arrival in New Hampshire, we drove directly to Alexandria where we met with local Humane Society officers and the Chief of Police. We held a meeting to inform us of the dangers and limitations of this dire situation. The owners of Dancing Brooke were informed months earlier that they needed to move and the officers had been working for nearly a year to help the owners successfully place their animals but they still had over 40 animals. The owners were now facing a 7 day eviction because the property had been sold. All of the animals would need to be moved immediately or the local Humane Society would put them to sleep.
Many of the animals were malnourished, dehydrated, and in need of medical attention. The remote location of the site made it difficult to bring food and supplies in while trying to get the animals out. New Hampshire law requires that any animal designated as having wolf content cannot be adopted out and thus must be euthanized. The law also prohibits the animal from being transferred out of state and transfer of ownership except to a sanctuary (like LARC). By the time LARC arrived, 12 animals had to be destroyed by the local Humane Society and 12 more were taken by the owners.
LARC took possession of the remaining wolves and wolfdogs and transferred them to the second site – in Chatham, New Hampshire for lifetime placement in sanctuary.
Loki Clan Wolf Refuge, Chatham, New Hampshire
Loki Clan Wolf Refuge had been operating as a wolf and wolfdog sanctuary but had begun having funding and management problems after the founder died. With GFAS’ intervention a new Board was created who kept the sanctuary afloat but who asked if LARC could come in and take over the property and the care of the animals.
At this location, there were 59 wolves, wolfdogs, and pure dogs in run-down, nearly collapsing enclosures, many of which were being treated for Lyme disease, heartworm, and other diseases related to the constantly wet conditions and lack of protection from the elements. Many of these animals needed immediate medical attention, vaccinations, blood work, and many needed to be spayed and neutered as well. LARC set up a regular meat program so that the animals were assured of good food every day.
LARC also had to repair and re-design the structures on the site plus build short-term housing for the dogs to be socialized and adopted, a quarantine facility, and long-term housing (1-2 acre enclosures) for the in-bound wolves and wolfdogs from Dancing Brooke in Bristol. Additional construction also included the building of a well, water distribution to the pens, and water troughs for all of the wolves. The veterans LARC shipped out from California, along with a Bobcat Tractor, trucks, trailers, chain-link fencing, and other supplies were also tasked with a major site cleanup and retrofitting of security doors and enclosure integrity. The Veterans also constructed a perimeter fence.
Those deemed to be pure dogs were adopted with the help of no kill shelters and the ASPCA because that is better for a dog than to live outdoors his or her entire life.
Ever since LARC went to New England to rescue the wolves and wolfdogs in need there in 2013, and started NEWARC, we have been caring for an aging population of animals who are slowly getting age-related conditions like arthritis. In December 2016, after much deliberation and at the recommendation of our veterinarians, we decided to bring the elderly NEWARC wolves/wolfdogs and their packs back to the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center in California. This is very good news for the older animals who will not have to deal with months-long winters of below freezing temperatures. And while wolves in the wild can handle harsh conditions, wolfdogs do not do as well when they are getting up there in age.
LARC drove out to New England with truck and trailer and transported these animals back to LARC where they are safe and relatively warm (it does snow at LARC). The next step for us will be to make modifications to the enclosures at NEWARC like indoor-outdoor housing or heated dog houses.
In the meantime, our elders will be enjoying the milder weather here at LARC. It was a big decision - but made with the best interest of those animals at heart (as you can imagine we wouldn't have driven 6200 miles otherwise:)