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Racing To Save 11 Wolf-Dogs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in northwestern New Mexico, it’s a race against time to save 11 wolf-dogs that are in danger of being euthanized.

The high-content wolf-dogs (not pure wolf, but more wolf than dog) are what remain of a breeding operation in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. About two months ago, the woman who ran it died, leaving behind 12 animals that were being cared for by her husband, said George Stapleton, general manager of the New Mexico sanctuary.

If the woman’s husband doesn’t find a taker by winter, he said he would have to euthanize them, Stapleton said.

Stapleton said he and Leyton J. Cougar, the sanctuary’s executive director, heard about the plight of the Iowa 12, as they were called, on Facebook. After confirming some details, Cougar and Stapleton went to Iowa to see for themselves.

Stapleton declined to go into specifics, but said the conditions the animals were living in were “deplorable.”

The duo decided to bring the wolf-dogs to New Mexico and to provide adequate veterinary care and accommodations for them — all told, it’s estimated to cost $120,000.

In the meantime, they’ve brought the oldest female wolf-dog with them to the sanctuary — on Thursday, she went to the vet before stepping foot, for the first time in five years, on ground made out of something other than concrete.

In the first two days of raising funds, the sanctuary built up about $1,500. Their first goal is to raise $10,000 to bring all of the remaining Iowa 11 to New Mexico, Stapleton said.

To get involved, contact the sanctuary at 505-775-3304, or email<br> — This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal