Shy Wolf Sanctuary may have to close after anonymous complaint

William DeShazer/Staff
Nancy Smith, owner and operator of the Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Golden Gate, looks over Dancer, a wolf resting in the heat on Wednesday July 11, 2012. Yesterday Smith was notified that she was no longer allowed to have anyone out to visit the animals on their property. 'After 20 years I can't believe this is happening,' Smith said.

Photo by WILLIAM DESHAZER // Buy this photo

William DeShazer/Staff Nancy Smith, owner and operator of the Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Golden Gate, looks over Dancer, a wolf resting in the heat on Wednesday July 11, 2012. Yesterday Smith was notified that she was no longer allowed to have anyone out to visit the animals on their property. "After 20 years I can't believe this is happening," Smith said.

— A second popular animal attraction in Collier County faces closing its doors to the public after code enforcers warned it is breaking county zoning rules.

The Shy Wolf Sanctuary, which has been operating for almost 20 years in Golden Gate Estates, was warned Monday not to advertise tours. The next day, it was told the only people allowed to visit the sanctuary are the owners' friends.

Complying with the county warning means cutting off a big part of the educational mission of the sanctuary, home to more than 50 rescued animals from prairie dogs to gopher tortoises, and the donations visitors often leave to help feed and care for the animals, owner Nancy Smith said Wednesday.

"I think it's a terrible disservice that they're doing to the people of this community and the animals," Smith said.

An anonymous complaint prompted Collier County code enforcers to issue the warning to Shy Wolf Sanctuary, just weeks after the Kowiachobee Animal Preserve in Golden Gate Estates had to shut its gates under similar circumstances.

Smith said she is meeting with code enforcement officers today to try to work out a resolution. Kowiachobee manager John Slaby says he is meeting with code enforcers next week.

"The bottom line is I don't understand what's going on," said Slaby, citing too many "gray areas" in the county's order to shut down.

Both Shy Wolf and Kowiachobee are allowed to keep their animals and continue operating at their present sites, which are zoned residential. They must take their animals off site, such as at schools or to community events, to display them for the public.

Collier County is trying to help the two sanctuaries understand their options for resolving their run-ins with the county, said Connie Deane, county spokeswoman.

They are few: going through a months-long process of amending the county's land development code to allow public visits or moving to agricultural land and applying for a conditional use permit from the county, Deane said.

"They're setting up a meeting to get better informed and we'll go from there," Deane said.

Smith, at Shy Wolf, said her 2 1/2-acre sanctuary is getting a raw deal at the hands of a complainant who objected to the sanctuary's advertising and should not be allowed to remain anonymous, she said.

"It just seems so ridiculously unfair," Smith said.

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 140

friendoffelines writes:

Actually, county staff are in the process right now of amending the LDC (Land Development Code) to eliminate the three-dog limit, among other things. Why not add language that allows Kowiachobee and Shy Wolf to stay. Lots of homes are near Jungle Larry's and the Conservancy and there are no big problems I know of.

grease_monkey writes:

welcome to naples !! where someone is always gonna woman .

GreenMachine writes:

Leave Shy Wolf alone, ridiculous that one squeaky wheel is allowed to derail an entire train of good intentions.

grease_monkey writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

ebayauctionteacher writes:

Welcome to the new hitler style of government in collier county leave these people alone they are doing no harm and they do a great service to our area its time people stood up to the code enforcement like they did to save the zoo pond and picket the county

roadhouse writes:

This is a common problem. People are allowed to make annonymous complaints which is bad enough. And when false complaints are made, despite that there is a county ordinance making a false code enforcement complaint a crime, the County, and the State's attorney will do nothing to prosecute.

Anahata writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

dmarko326 writes:

More government heavy-handed BS!
Same people who think government is God's mouthpiece.
We would all do better with far less government intrusion and their BS!

unfatcat writes:

This county is out of control with regulations, including land restrictions. When someone purchases property in "the country setting," one should be able to build what they want, own what they want, or house the animals that want. It is "country living." For those who oppose this and want to have your designer-cut bushes with your condo commando, please live in one of the hundreds of in-town communities like this and leave the people alone who appreciate wildlife more than aesthetics.

Do we really need to move to other states to be able to do what we want to with with our property? That is just not right. It shouldn't be that way!

HappyHour writes:

I find it hard to believe that an international hacking organization would have anything against Shy Wolf.

marti43 writes:

Allowing anonymous complaints leads to neighbor wars. There is a lot of room for abuse. If you are going to complain have the stones to put your name on it.

staghorn writes:

This county is doing great!
RE-ELECT EVERYBODY!

Texas writes:

For a conservative town (one that is against Government regulations) this should noit be happening. If these 2 groups are causing a problem..that is different...but if they are not then we should be true REPUBLICANS and put our money where our mouth is. I am sure something can be worked out. If they were golf courses, I am sure no one would complain.

GBR writes:

No good deed goes unpunished!

I was out there for the first time this year, after hearing about it for years.

What a class operation. Kudos to all the people who work there.

This makes me wonder what,or who, has plans for the area.

Just leave Shy Wolf alone, they arent hurting anyone.

ravenhawk writes:

in response to Anahata:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You rock, Anahata! Hopefully this can all be resolved soon! Be Well, Skip.

Johnnymarco49 writes:

Vote these people out!

ravenhawk writes:

Maybe it is time for another Sacred Wolf Path Celebration to help with some fundraising for Shy Wolf? Summerland is always there for you guys!

paul_vincent_zecchino writes:

Who wants the property? Is that the ulterior motive behind this 'anonymous' complaint? It's not unusual. It's an old, s-----, vile gag and citizens are now on to it.

Someone with ulterior motives pulled the same gag on a Charlotte County tiger sanctuary ten years ago. A person who coveted the land enlisted a two hundred fifty pound female deputy who lived two miles from the sanctuary to file false complaints. She claimed she was 'frightened for her children'.

Yeah. Right. Sure she was.

Happy ending, DeSoto county officials said they'd love to have a tiger sanctuary in their county. The sanctuary moved there, and is doing well.

Is there an address to where we can send contributions to defray legal costs inflicted by these very brave heroic 'code enforcers' who've nothing better to do than harass a woman who's run the sanctuary for two decades?

Who is the gutless rat who didn't want to state their name when filing their obviously false complaint?

Do these Judicial Terrorists realize that today, citizens use the Net to expose these capers?

Playing the Victim and crying wolf for ulterior motives, perhaps to grab the land, is an old, vile, and s----- gag. Citizens are now on to it.

Why won't this 'anonymous' complainant identify themselves and explain their supposed fears? Is it perhaps for the true fear they by so doing, they'd quickly expose those who are behind them?

This is exactly the sort of governmental heavy handedness of which citizens find repugnant.

Paul Vincent Zecchino
Manasota Key, Florida
12 July, 2012

staghorn writes:

REMEMBER!

Vote Republican; they always use the words freedom and liberty.

Shaawe writes:

in response to grease_monkey:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Really now? So the censors at Napled Daily News are now replacing the word bi t ch with the word "WOMAN"? Editor, what in the hell are you thinking allowing this word replacement? I am sure you are gonna hear about this by more than just a few WOMEN!

BillyBob1 writes:

Looks like from the story that animals are not the problem. It is the advertising and traffic in a residential neighborhood. This tough for the preserves and the people that live near them. If they are to continue to operate they can go through the process and re-zone the property. If neighbors have issue with it they will get a chance to voice those concerns. Your rights end where mine begin. Be a good neighbor and you might just find more support than you think.

Here4Now writes:

Welcome to Collier County, where everyones nose is stuck so far up everyone elses "business", no one can do anything. Collier Code Enforccement - you should be embarrassed. This is disgraceful. These are two worthy organizations, doing good for both animals and man, and you come in and shut them down because of some "Mrs. Kravitz" type neighbor bitsche? You idiots clearly cannot see the forest for the trees, can you.

Let Kowiachobee and Shy Woplf alone - their are plenty of "real" code violators in Naples for you to practice your gestapo BS on.

Notthesame writes:

ST. Vincent Island is trying to build a wolf population send them there.

unimpressed writes:

The news reports do not make it clear that the Sanctuary houses and cares for exotic animals that can not be returned to the wild.This is all done with volunteers and with donate money from individuals who visit the animals and are impressed with the work done. There is no where for them to go. We all need to start a letter writing campaign to the NDN and to the commissioners. Not impressed with code enforcement. Use a little discretion and common sense here...

legal_right writes:

Since when Golden Gate Estates considered "Residential zoning?" It is zoned "Agricultural". Something smells like BS here; either more incompetent reporting or lies from the county or worse, inconsistencies in zoning. The Estates start near Livingston Road and head clear out to the Everglades. Someone please help me understand this, anyone, NDN? I live very close in and have filed complaints, with my name on them, about roosters and their excessive noise and have been told that there is nothing that can be done since the "Estates" are zoned "Agricultural". I've been to Shy Wolf, there is no way that is zoned "Residential".

Here4Now writes:

Code Enforcement is a joke - it should be shut down and retooled with some INTELLIGENCE. It's nothing but a bully arm of County government at this point, with no clear rhyme, reason, or consistency to their actions.

nplsparentof2 writes:

in response to Here4Now:

Welcome to Collier County, where everyones nose is stuck so far up everyone elses "business", no one can do anything. Collier Code Enforccement - you should be embarrassed. This is disgraceful. These are two worthy organizations, doing good for both animals and man, and you come in and shut them down because of some "Mrs. Kravitz" type neighbor bitsche? You idiots clearly cannot see the forest for the trees, can you.

Let Kowiachobee and Shy Woplf alone - their are plenty of "real" code violators in Naples for you to practice your gestapo BS on.

Spot on!

I would like to see protesters at Pine Ridge and 41 supporting these two organizations.

legal_right writes:

Code Enforcement always pawns off animal issues to Domestic Animal Services (DAS). DAS insists a sworn, notarized affadavit be completed by TWO seperately addressed complaintants in order for action to be taken. If this complaint has to do with the animals, then how can this be considered an annonymous complaint? Something is not right here! End cronyism in Collier, vote for all new officials this coming election. Out with the old in with the new.

Here4Now writes:

I think everyone reading this should take 5 minutes of their time today and call County Code Enforcement, and tell them what you think of their behavior. Their number is 239-252-2440.

legal_right writes:

in response to Here4Now:

Code Enforcement is a joke - it should be shut down and retooled with some INTELLIGENCE. It's nothing but a bully arm of County government at this point, with no clear rhyme, reason, or consistency to their actions.

EXACTLY!

zakkdogg writes:

I had the pleasure of helping to build a new pen a couple of years ago out there and learned what a great place it really is..stay strong guys

annoyedatstupidity writes:

Get the problem fixed and be done with it. Code enforcement sucks no matter where you are.

Oh, and I know quite a few men who act like "women" as well.

SWFL_Sunshine writes:

This is absolutely ridiculous. I have witnessed the great experience and education Shy Wolf has to offer young minds and even adults. They have built the sanctuary to the highest level of standards and these animals are not only safely enclosed, they are able to thrive in the environments provided. They did not purchase these animals, they've RESCUED them all. I can't believe that code enforcement would even think twice to knock on their door and give them that kind of news.

Why has no one had a problem with NGALA in Naples? An exotic animal preserve that only people who pay BIG MONEY can even go to. Shy Wolf doesn't charge visitors, they are simply open to donations however much one might want to give. If code enforcement is so quick to act on these establishments that offer education and simply a final retreat for animals with nowhere else to go, why not point fingers at places like NGALA??

I hope the anonymous tipper really thinks hard about what they've done just stirring the pot. These are innocent animals lives and tons of people's hard work you're messing with.

Shaawe writes:

"The next day, it was told the only people allowed to visit the sanctuary are the owners' friends."

Hmm. I am willing to bet that the owner, has litterally hundreds of "friends". Where there is a will, there is a way!

freedomsailor writes:

County employees trying to justify their existence. Collier County could save millions by getting rid of 50% of the idiots they employ!

SimonSays writes:

in response to nplsparentof2:

Spot on!

I would like to see protesters at Pine Ridge and 41 supporting these two organizations.

OK...let's do it. Who here knows what permits we need to assemble?
The thing to remember is that the government is SUPPOSED to be US. We tell our elected officials what we want and our government acts on what we say. So fellow NDN readers, let's invest our time and energy and show our local officials that we are serious.
Is this Saturday too early?

jkalvin writes:

I also had an "anonymous complaint" years ago about our property that has been the way it is since 1976 - with records showing same in the Property appraiser's office dating back until then.

It cost us 30K + and 2 years to resolve. The end result? "No action required".

The complaintant? A county inspector who came on the property to inspect a permitted propane tank.

Thanks Collier County. No wonder Horse-shoe Drive's permit office is a ghost town these days.

SWFL_Sunshine writes:

With visitation being cut off, Shy Wolf is in need of donations - you can donate however much on their website, www.shywolfsanctuary.com

Now who is ready for a rally Naples code enforcement probably never expected?!

titanbite writes:

in response to marti43:

Allowing anonymous complaints leads to neighbor wars. There is a lot of room for abuse. If you are going to complain have the stones to put your name on it.

Exactly,if the complainant refuses to sign the complaint,it should be ignored by code enforcement,not surprisingly,if you complain regarding a county caused problem,signing the complaint is required.

scubatenor writes:

in response to Shaawe:

Really now? So the censors at Napled Daily News are now replacing the word bi t ch with the word "WOMAN"? Editor, what in the hell are you thinking allowing this word replacement? I am sure you are gonna hear about this by more than just a few WOMEN!

It's automated! Try typing the word "p-r-i-c-k". In fact, I'll do it. Do not male reproductive organ your finger. Don't you love it?

Here4Now writes:

Code Enforcement - 252-2440. Ask for Jeff Laterno (spelling may be wrong). He's the Golden Gate code enf. supervisor.

QueBonita writes:

There's good cause for grandfathering an establishment that has operated for 20 years without a complaint.

SWFL_Sunshine writes:

in response to Here4Now:

Code Enforcement - 252-2440. Ask for Jeff Laterno (spelling may be wrong). He's the Golden Gate code enf. supervisor.

Thank you!!

We all need to step up and stop the government, especially some weasely part of it like code enforcement from taking control of everything.

We need to have voices for the ones who don't - the innocent animals whose lives are now in jeopardy!

ravenhawk writes:

in response to SWFL_Sunshine:

With visitation being cut off, Shy Wolf is in need of donations - you can donate however much on their website, www.shywolfsanctuary.com

Now who is ready for a rally Naples code enforcement probably never expected?!

While I fully agree with your comapssion for Shy Wolf, I don't believe protesting at Collier County Code Enforcement will have any effect at all. They are only enforcing the county code set down by Collier County officials such as the BOCC. This will have to be a process to be taken up with them as it is they who have created the codes, ordinances and statutes in the first place. Perhaps they will grant a variance in favor of Shy Wolf.

Jarvis (Inactive) writes:

Their "solution" is to take the 50 wolves and tortoises to the schools. That makes sense. One wolf goes nuts and bites ten kids, and there you have it.

Government solutions to simple problems create greater risks of danger.

are_u_serious writes:

in response to paul_vincent_zecchino:

Who wants the property? Is that the ulterior motive behind this 'anonymous' complaint? It's not unusual. It's an old, s-----, vile gag and citizens are now on to it.

Someone with ulterior motives pulled the same gag on a Charlotte County tiger sanctuary ten years ago. A person who coveted the land enlisted a two hundred fifty pound female deputy who lived two miles from the sanctuary to file false complaints. She claimed she was 'frightened for her children'.

Yeah. Right. Sure she was.

Happy ending, DeSoto county officials said they'd love to have a tiger sanctuary in their county. The sanctuary moved there, and is doing well.

Is there an address to where we can send contributions to defray legal costs inflicted by these very brave heroic 'code enforcers' who've nothing better to do than harass a woman who's run the sanctuary for two decades?

Who is the gutless rat who didn't want to state their name when filing their obviously false complaint?

Do these Judicial Terrorists realize that today, citizens use the Net to expose these capers?

Playing the Victim and crying wolf for ulterior motives, perhaps to grab the land, is an old, vile, and s----- gag. Citizens are now on to it.

Why won't this 'anonymous' complainant identify themselves and explain their supposed fears? Is it perhaps for the true fear they by so doing, they'd quickly expose those who are behind them?

This is exactly the sort of governmental heavy handedness of which citizens find repugnant.

Paul Vincent Zecchino
Manasota Key, Florida
12 July, 2012

Shy Wolf Sanctuary
1161 27th Street Southwest Naples, FL 34117

SWFL_Sunshine writes:

in response to ravenhawk:

While I fully agree with your comapssion for Shy Wolf, I don't believe protesting at Collier County Code Enforcement will have any effect at all. They are only enforcing the county code set down by Collier County officials such as the BOCC. This will have to be a process to be taken up with them as it is they who have created the codes, ordinances and statutes in the first place. Perhaps they will grant a variance in favor of Shy Wolf.

I never said anything about protesting at Collier County code enforcement. In a previous post, someone mentioned a rally to bring awareness and support for Shy Wolf.

Code enforcement does have the rules and regulations but we as citizens have the ability to voice our opinions. We need to promote awareness and stop letting the officials at code enforcement dictate everything in our community, especially if by an "anonymous tip" that if you havn't read the posts above have turned out empty.

Sometimes rules need to be changed.

ravenhawk writes:

Not that I am a proponent of code enforcement whatsoever, in fact I detest their methods, I did find this on the humorous side regarding the logo on their website.
"To protect the health, safety, and welfare of Collier County residents and visitors through education, cooperation, and compliance"

HappyHour writes:

in response to Here4Now:

Code Enforcement - 252-2440. Ask for Jeff Laterno (spelling may be wrong). He's the Golden Gate code enf. supervisor.

Jeff is a good man and a caring resident. His diligence in GG city is what got him put in the estates. However, he is not the one to bark(or howl as the case may be) at. That "person" is the director Diane Flagg, a real nut who has all her employees shaking with fear. She is also the very same who sued her own employer and won, and who is currently being sued by one of her own people.
You all should turn your well deserved ire to the county managers office.

ravenhawk writes:

in response to SWFL_Sunshine:

I never said anything about protesting at Collier County code enforcement. In a previous post, someone mentioned a rally to bring awareness and support for Shy Wolf.

Code enforcement does have the rules and regulations but we as citizens have the ability to voice our opinions. We need to promote awareness and stop letting the officials at code enforcement dictate everything in our community, especially if by an "anonymous tip" that if you havn't read the posts above have turned out empty.

Sometimes rules need to be changed.

Agreed! "Sometimes rules need to be changed." Great comment, by the way!

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