The timber wolf in Franklin County may have been kept in violation of county zoning code, but the planning department won’t pursue any punishment.
Owning a timber wolf as a pet isn’t illegal in Franklin County, as long as the owner lives in the appropriate zoning district and has a conditional use permit. Scottie Eagan, planning director, said her office is unsure if the wolves’ owner met these two conditions.
“We don’t know where his property is actually located within the county,” Eagan said. “... We were given very little information. We don’t know the owner’s name, we don’t know where he lives.”
Owning a timber wolf, or any other exotic pet, in Franklin County is prohibited in most districts. Eagan said there is only one zoning district in the county that would even allow the owning of a timber wolf.
“According to our regulations, in the nonurban and agricultural district, exotic and wild animals, as defined by state statutes, require a conditional use permit,” Eagan said. “That’s the only district that allows that.”
Even if the owner lived in the right district, he would still need a conditional use permit to have the wolves legally. Eagan said without knowing the owner’s name it’s hard to be certain, but her office doesn’t believe anyone has applied for a CUP to own a wolf.
“None of us remembers any individual coming in about wolves,” she said.
Despite the owner likely not having the proper paperwork, Eagan said it would be unlikely for the planning department to seek punishment.
“We spoke to the prosecutor and he said this office probably isn’t the route to go for violations,” Eagan said. “Since the wolves are gone, we don’t have any proof where they were on the property. We don’t have the manpower to go out there and see where the wolf was even at.”
There have been no confirmed wolf sightings as of Friday.