Bob Barker has long been a defender of animals. Among other efforts, he has helped fund a habitat for rescued research chimps, paid to relocate zoo elephants to a sanctuary, backed a bill that would end wild animal circuses, and donated millions to Sea Shepherd for the ship that now bears his name.
Now, Barker has given a helping hand to 29 wold dogs in need of a safe haven. According to the Ventura County Star, the 29 wolf-dog hybrids were owned without a permit illegally and were used as a roadside attraction at which people could pay $5 to pet and feed the chained dogs. The dogs were restrained and could not reach other, and even mated through a fence, according to Matthew Simmons of Lockwood Animal Rescue Center.
Simmons and his wife Lauren Lindner flew from California to Alaska when state wildlife troopers investigated the attraction, Wolf Country USA, and the wolf dogs faced euthanasia. “These animals don’t have anyone to speak on their behalf,” Simmons has said. The two were given permission to bring the dogs back with them, but needed funds. Once again, Bob Barker came to the rescue, offering to help pay for the 29 animals to be relocated to the sanctuary. Barker even doubled his contribution when Simmons told him how much it would cost. The wolf dogs were flown by private plane to Seattle and then driven to their new home before being spayed or neutered and microchipped.
Fifteen have been adopted into homes or taken in at other sanctuaries. The 14 remaining at Lockwood are living in enclosures on 4 acres of land, including “wolf mansion” with two acres of land with trees, hills, and a pond to enjoy. Simmons says they monitor the animals to see which wolf dogs can be kept together.
Along with protecting wolf dogs, Simmons and Lindner have dedicated themselves to protecting wild wolves. Lindner adds, “We can’t risk losing our top predator in the wild.” She works to educate the public about wild wolves seen as a threat to ranches with livestock, saying “they can co-exist.” Some of the rescued wolf dogs will be part of the organization’s outreach programs to promote wolf conservation.