(CNN) – A Washington state man says he’ll be forced to put several of his wild animals to death. That’s due to a local ordinance ordering him to get rid of the animals. Now he’s getting the word out, even though his fight may be running out of time.
Max is one of 17 wolves Dave Colburn reluctantly plans to kill.
“If we cannot find a place to place him, he’ll be euthanized.”
Colburn runs Predators of the Heart on 10 acres in Anacortes.
For nearly 14 years, he’s taken his exotic animals to schools, libraries, churches and fairs to educate people about wildlife.
“They’re not hurting anybody.”
But Skagit County has filed a lawsuit against Colburn, saying he’s violating an ordinance against possessing potentially dangerous wild animals.
Last year, wolves, cougars, venomous snakes and foxes were added to the list.
“I think we’re going to have to kill them.”
That means two dozen animals the organization bought, rescued, or raised are on the hit list if it can’t find zoos to accept them.
“It’s breaking my heart, these animals are my life.”
Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki says pulling at heart strings isn’t fair play. She calls it a matter of public safety.
“This isn’t a petting zoo. They’re called predators for a reason. The county wants Predators of the Heart to be within compliance of state law.”
Colburn says placing his animals is tough and expensive.
He doesn’t have much time before the county threatens fines that could total $50,000 a day.
“It’s a $2,000 a day per animal fine that we’re going to be up against having to pay.”
Colburn says he doesn’t have that kind of money and can’t afford an attorney to fight, and will probably just have to roll over.
“Maybe I’ll get to keep, maybe, 20 percent of what I have, maybe.”
Colburn says he is trying to get sanctuary status for his property in order to keep the animals.
But the county says he must change the habitat and remove some animals to do so.
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