Springtime in one Dakota County neighborhood is not bringing the smell of flowers, but rather, the smell of wolf food. And there's howling.
Fur-Ever Wild is a self-described "working agricultural farm" in Eureka Township just south of Lakeville owned by Terri Petter. The farm advertises to visitors that it has wolves, and according to court documents, the farm also has "cougars, bobcats, otters, beavers, lynx, fishers, martens, and badgers" that they use for fur.
Neighbors sued their Eureka Township board, arguing that most of these animals were exotic and therefore prohibited by a 2005 ordinance. When the case first went to court, the judge ruled that Petter could have exotic animals if they were used for fur farming, which the township allows. The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that under the ordinance, exotic animals are exotic animals, and it doesn't matter what they're used for.
The Eureka Township lawyer said the ruling means the case heads back to court to determine which animals stay and which have to go. The neighbors involved in the suit say they hope that day comes soon.
The owner of the farm declined to comment for the story. Because the ordinance banning exotic animals was passed in 2005, the number of exotic animals on the farm at that time is grandfathered in, so they can keep that same number. The township does have the option to try to appeal.