How to Own Wolves in Colorado

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Owning a wolf is a very big responsibility and liability. In addition to caring for the wolf, you have to care for those who come into contact with the wolf. In Colorado, if a person is attacked by a wolf you own, regardless of the circumstances, you are liable for the damage to property and person.

  • Check for Breed Specific Legislation in your area. Some municipalities, such as Colorado Springs, have laws that govern individual ownership of wolves. In many locations, wolves as pets are allowed only outside of city limits. There are also limits regarding the number of wolves per dwelling in many locations.

  • Build suitable housing for the wolf. In Colorado, your fence must be at least 8 feet high in the wolf's pen. There must be a lock on every door of the fence to stop unauthorized entry and to prevent people from opening the door to let the wolf out. You must provide a shelter for the wolf. You have to provide an outdoor dwelling for any wolf or wolf hybrid that is considered to be more than 30 percent wolf. You may consider putting barbed wire around the top to discourage people from trying to climb the fence.

  • Contact the Colorado Division of Wildlife office for your area (see Resources). It will have to send an agent to inspect the enclosure for the wolf. It will also come to inspect the enclosure and the wolf at least once a year. Ask the agent for "'Beware of Wolf" signs or a "Caution: Wild Animal" sign to place near the gates or doors on the enclosure.

  • Get insurance. You must have at least $250,000 of liability insurance that covers a wolf attack. In some areas, the minimum will be higher. Check with a local agent to find out, as these requirements change frequently in some areas. On some policies, the wording may say "non-domesticated animal inhabiting the premises" instead of specifically saying "wolf."

  • Purchase a heavy-duty lock and make sure that it is locked any time you are away from the enclosure. This is vital to protect the wolf and people.

  • Buy or adopt a wolf. Always keep in mind that no matter how friendly it may seem, a wolf is still a wild animal. Feed it appropriate food, make sure it has fresh water and find a veterinarian that can give it vaccinations and regular checkups.

  • Photo Credit National Wildlife Federation
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