Runs with Wolves Sanctuary may have to change its name to Runs with a Wolf and Hybrids.

The Limington woman who owns a wolf sanctuary and advertises on her website for tours of her wolf pack — with donations welcomed through PayPal — told the Maine Warden Service on Thursday she had four hybrid wolves and just one pure wolf.

Since the story about the wolf sanctuary and its lack of permits was published in The Portland Press Herald on Wednesday, Brenda Foster’s story has changed.

Maine Warden Service Capt. Dan Scott said Friday that Foster told authorities she has run her sanctuary for about 10 years, although her website states she “founded the sanctuary in 1990.”

Foster told the Press Herald she has a pack of wolves, including one named Timber that lives in her house, which is called a pure wolf on her website.

However, Scott said Foster told investigator Kevin Anderson that only one of her animals is a pure wolf, a female named Tazlina.

“She told him that at least three of the animals are hybrids for sure and the fourth one she’s not really sure about, it could go either way,” Scott said.

It is legal in Maine to own a hybrid wolf; however, ownership of a pure wolf requires a state permit. Wolves are endangered in 47 states.

Foster said in an interview Friday that because she is passionate about wolf education, she viewed her entire pack as pure wolves because “people want to see wolves.”

“It’s probably my fault. Because I do wolf education here, I always come across as all pure-wolf,” Foster said. “Actually, I knew the game warden was coming and I looked up the different records of the animals brought here.

“The vet work and the paperwork on where they came from shows they are a husky mix, a German shepherd mix. All of those are technically hybrids. But I blow that off when I am teaching,” she said. “These animals do look like pure wolves.”

Foster said the sanctuary’s board of directors voted recently not to allow any more hybrid wolves after the last two came to the site in July.

But the future of the sanctuary is uncertain.

Scott said Foster could face fines for being in violation of wildlife possession laws.

He said Foster was asked Thursday to complete the permit application for the one pure wolf and submit it to the state. Scott said it will then be determined if Foster should get a permit, which costs $27.

“Ultimately, the decision is up to the district attorney if someone is in violation, where we should go. We aren’t at that stage,” Scott said.

He would not comment on any other violations Foster may have committed.

However, if she has a pure wolf, Foster could be in violation for transporting it without a permit.

Foster told the Press Herald that Tazlina was obtained in 2002 from a trophy hunter in New Hampshire who bought the wolf in Alaska.

Alex Hoar of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Hadley, Mass., said it is a violation of the federal Lacy Act to purchase or move a wild animal across state lines without a permit.

After the story of Foster’s lack of permits appeared in the paper, a number of wildlife enthusiasts wanted to help.

Joni Saffron, the owner of Wolf Hollow, a state and federally licensed wolf sanctuary in Ipswich, Mass., said she sent Foster a check for $50.

Saffron said that based on the Runs with Wolves website, Foster looked like someone “trying to promote awareness and education.”

However, the Massachusetts wildlife educator said she also is not sure she has the whole story.

“When I have some time I intend to take a trip up there and meet this lady and see her facility. Websites can be misleading,” Saffron said.

 

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: [email protected]