Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the W.O.L.F. Sanctuary exist?

There is an unregulated industry of breeding captive wolves and wolf dogs for sale as pets; it is estimated that 150,000-250,000 of these animals are born in the U.S. each year. Because wolves and wolf dogs do not behave like regular dogs, once the animals reach maturity the vast majority of these owners can no longer care for them, relegating these animals to neglect, abuse, abandonment, surrender to shelters and/or being euthanized. It is estimated that up to 95% of these animals are sentenced to death each year. In addition, society’s often fearful view of wild wolves is not in line with the reality of these animals’ behaviors and necessary roles in the ecosystem, thereby leading to inappropriate policies that are often detrimental to these majestic animals.

Because of these issues, W.O.L.F. was founded in 1995 to rescue captive-born wolves and wolf dogs that are unable to be cared for by their original owners. W.O.L.F.’s mission is to improve the quality of life for wolves and wolf dogs through Rescue, Sanctuary and Education.  The Sanctuary is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Rescue – W.O.L.F. works with sanctuaries and rescue organizations around the country to try to place captive-born wolves and wolf dogs in safe and appropriate settings.

Sanctuary – We provide a life-long home at W.O.L.F. in a natural habitat that takes into account each individual wolf dog’s physical, medical, and emotional needs. Our current sanctuary location is home to 30 captive-born wolf dogs.

Education – W.O.L.F. provides the public with information about the plight of wolves and wolf dogs (both captive-born and wild) to foster a greater understanding of these animals and their value.

Why does the W.O.L.F. funded?

W.O.L.F. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We receive our funding through private donations, fundraisers, grants and merchandise sales. We do not receive any money from any governmental entities, nor will we ask for any cost reductions from the County. The majority of the money we raise each year comes from small donations by everyday people who care about the welfare of these animals. We also encourage people to consider putting the Sanctuary in their wills—since that is one of the best ways for the Sanctuary to get significant funding for long-term stability and security for the animals.

Is the W.O.L.F Sanctuary regulated in any way?

W.O.L.F. is licensed by the  State of Colorado Pet Animal Care Facility Act License (License #002WK8) and by the U.S. Department of Agriculture License (License #05-07-2022). We are subject to routine unannounced inspections and audits. In addition, W.O.L.F. is an accredited member of the American Sanctuary Association.

Along with this, W.O.L.F. complies with any applicable State and County guidelines and regulations.

Where do your wolves come from?

Our animals come from all over the United States. We rescue wolves and wolf dogs who do not have any place to go because they cannot live successfully in a private home as pets. Many of our animals come from abuse or neglect situations and it is our mission to provide them with medical care, lifelong sanctuary in a natural mountain habitat, a high-quality diet and abundant enrichment activities.

Do you ever adopt out any animals?

No. W.O.L.F. provides lifetime sanctuary for every animal we rescue. We do not adopt our animals out to private individuals, and we do not sell or trade them to other organizations. Our mission is to rescue animals in need and to provide them with a high quality of life for the remainder of their lives.

Do you breed or support breeding?

W.O.L.F. is NOT a breeding facility. We are committed to helping resolve the problem of tens of thousands of unwanted captive-bred wolves and wolf dogs being euthanized in shelters every year. Each of our animals is spayed or neutered upon joining the W.O.L.F. family unless medical reasons prevent the procedure. If an animal cannot be spayed or neutered, we only place that animal with an individual who has been sterilized to prevent any chances of an accidental litter.

Do you release the wolves you rescue back into the wild?

No. Because all the animals we take in have been born in captivity, it would be inappropriate to release any of them into the wild. They do not have the knowledge needed to survive and be healthy in the wild, and it would be ecologically unethical to release wolf dogs into wild wolf populations.

How big are the wolf enclosures and do they live in packs?

Our animals live in packs of twos and threes. The enclosures are approximately ½ acre in size to an acre and they are built up the side of a mountain in a wooded, natural setting. The animals have plenty of room to run, play and hide.  In addition to providing natural habitats, W.O.L.F. provides enrichment protocols and features to provide behavioral, intellectual, and mental stimulation.

How many animals do you have?

W.O.L.F. is permitted to have 30 animals. We usually are at capacity or near-capacity.

What do you feed the animals?

We feed our animals a diet of raw meat and dry dog food. Kibble is fed every day and each wolf gets approximately two pounds of assorted meats six days a week and one day for bones. We also provide fresh water, dietary supplements, treats, and medications as prescribed by our Veterinary Team.

Where do you get the food?

The vast majority of all of the food we feed is donated from local stores, supermarkets, and private individuals hunters who have extra game meat or scrap. While we do not have a lot of restrictions in what we accept for meat donations, there are some.
These include:
• No meat that is marinated or seasoned
• No cooked meat
• No pork or fish
• No meat over 3 years old and/or that has freezer burn
• No meat that is greater than 20% fat
• The meat must be processed (e.g., we cannot except carcasses that have not be cut up).
• If you are donating kibble, it must be in the original bag from the manufacturer, as we need to know the nutritional information

If you have meat that you are interested in donating to the wolves please complete the Food Donation form

What do you do with your animals when they pass?

When an animal dies, they are brought into the Colorado State University Diagnostics Lab for a necropsy to determine cause of death before being sent to cremation.

There is a wolf or wolf dog that needs rescuing, what do I do?

W.O.L.F. networks with rescue organizations cross the country that specializes in wolves and wolf dogs. If you have or know of an animal that needs rescue, please complete the W.O.L.F Questionnaire form for a quicker response. We will send out a rescue alert to the rescue network and try to assist with finding appropriate placement for the animal. Information we are looking for includes: age, sex, medical history, temperament, behavioral issues, and reasons for surrender.

How can I help W.O.L.F.?

Individuals can help W.O.L.F. by becoming a volunteer, becoming members (and receiving our quarterly magazine) and by donating to help our animals through our “DONATE” button on our website.

Does the Sanctuary accept volunteers?

Yes, the Sanctuary is primarily an all-volunteer organization. All potential volunteers must be at least 18, become a member of W.O.L.F., submit a Volunteer Application, and attend a Volunteer Orientation. Please visit the Volunteer page for more information.

What do volunteers help with at the Sanctuary?

Our primary needs are in the areas of animal care, outreach, fundraising events, administration and maintenance. Volunteers do not have to have previous animal experience to work at W.O.L.F. We teach our volunteers everything they will need to know to help the Sanctuary. Please visit the Volunteer page for more information.

I only want to volunteer at W.O.L.F. for a day. Can I do that?

Yes, if you are part of a volunteer work group. Organizations and corporate work groups are critical to helping W.O.L.F. accomplish many of our larger maintenance and facility projects. If you would like to set up a day for your organization or corporation to help at the Sanctuary, Please visit the Work Groups page for more information.

Does the Sanctuary offer internships?

Yes, internships are available year-round. We ask for a ten-week commitment with either full or part time opportunities. Internships are unpaid and people interested in becoming an intern are responsible for finding their own housing. Some assistance with transportation to and from the Sanctuary is available.  If you are interested in becoming an intern please visit our Internship page for dates and other information.

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