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Calls for stronger penalties after video of tortured wolf emerges in Wyoming

'$250 is nothing': Calls for stiffer penalties after video of tortured wolf emerges in Wyoming
Posted at 11:03 AM, Apr 15, 2024

WYOMING — Outrage has formed across the nation after a photo was released by the Wyoming newspaper Cowboy State Daily of Daniel, Wyoming resident, Cody Roberts, posing with a live wolf with its mouth taped shut.

Roberts received an initial fine of $250 from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department for possessing a live wild animal. The agency also released a short video of Roberts kissing the snout of the young female wolf, as well as other footage of the wolf with a muzzle on in the Green River Bar in Daniel.

'$250 is nothing': Calls for stiffer penalties after video of tortured wolf emerges in Wyoming

Wayne Pacelle, the president of Animal Wellness Action, a nonprofit advocating for animal rights, believes Roberts should face more penalties.

“$250 is nothing, is not a penalty given the horror of his behavior,” Pacelle said. “Wyoming does make it a felony to engage in malicious mistreatment of animals, that’s exactly what occurred here, and I won’t settle, and I know millions of Americans won’t settle, for anything less than that.”

Wyoming Game and Fish released a statement saying that predatory animals are not managed by the department and that animal cruelty laws do not apply to predatory animals. Eighty percent of Wyoming is a predator zone, meaning that wolves can be hunted all year without a license or tag.

'$250 is nothing': Calls for stiffer penalties after video of tortured wolf emerges in Wyoming

“A signal needs to be sent that this should never be permitted in a civilized society. Never," Pacelle said. “He committed an act of cruelty.”

Jerome Vandersloot, of Hardin, has been hunting his entire life. He said that he is "anti-wolf" but was still sickened to learn of Roberts's actions.

“I don’t care what animal it is, it does not deserve to suffer,” Vandersloot said. “I can tell you a real hunter would not do anything like that. You know, if they are doing things like that, they’re not a real hunter and they don’t care.”

Vandersloot also said this incident gives the "pro-wolf folks more ammunition to throw at us," but said that even if laws changed, he doesn't believe someone like Roberts would follow the new laws.

“Me as, you know a hunter that abides by all the laws, I believe these guys should be made an example of,” Vandersloot said.

The Sublette County Sheriff's Office is actively investigating the incident.