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Group aims to clear wolves' hostile repute

June 17, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Valley Village foundation wants to clear threatening preconceived notions people may have about wolves. It might seem like an ordinary neighborhood in Valley Village. You can see a single-story home, complete with a lawn and a white picket fence. What you may not know is that a pack of 10 wolves calls this home.

Paul Pondella rescued his first wolf 21 years ago, and in May, Paul's family of wolves grew to 10 with the birth of seven new pups. And it's all legal.

"We do have all of our city licensing. We have our USDA permits. We do have everything enclosed. We have it all locked through internal locking, and everything is done through a controlled environment," explained Pondella, who says his purpose if simple.

"We have wolf hybrids so that we can educate the community about the misconceptions of what's going on with the wolves in the wild to stop the senseless killing. The educational programs are geared for the children," explained Pondella.

While some adults perceive wolves as vicious creatures, a few minutes with this pack changes any preconceived notions.

"They're not quite used to it, but we do this because it socializes [the wolves] to people," said Colette Duvall with the Shadowland Foundation, an animal awareness group that Pondella supports.

"The backyard is all enclosed with fencing, as well as secured by chain link, as well as wood fencing," described Pondella.

The difference in caring for wolves versus dogs is the cost.

"We're in about $1,200 to $1,500 a month right now," said Pondella.

Shadowland Foundation doesn't recommend others to adopt wolves. They say they require specialized care and much attention.


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