We sometimes become so comfortable with the animals in our lives that we don’t take the proper precautions when children are nearby.
Unfortunately, this has led to a very serious situation because a two-year-old girl lost part of her arm. According to some reports, Sophia Scraver was at an animal sanctuary owned by her grandmother and attempted to grab the collar of a wolf-dog hybrid inside of a cage.
There are differences in the stories that are told, depending upon whether you listen to the family or the police. The family feels that the animal bit the girl’s arm off. Brenda Pearson, the little girl’s grandmother and sanctuary owner said that she thought it didn’t make much sense.
She now feels that the child may have lost her arm after it got caught in the cage and was ripped off at the elbow.
Brenda is now under investigation for another reason; she doesn’t have active permits for the animals within the sanctuary. In turn, she blames the city for dragging their feet.
Authorities are currently investigating the Howling Timbers Animal Sanctuary in Muskegon, Michigan, after the incident. Brenda Pearson’s granddaughter, Sophia Scraver lost part of her arm when reaching into a cage of a dog-wolf hybrid.
The incident took place on July 23. Police gave an explanation that the wolf-dog hybrid had bitten the girl’s arm off after she put her arm in the cage. It seems as if she was trying to grab the collar.
Anna Cullen is a conservation officer who said: “No person should be allowed near those dogs.”
“It’s not fair to this child who lost an arm. We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of anyone who may encounter any animal at Howling Timbers, including the health and safety of all the animals at the facility,” she continued.
Authorities are looking into the possibility that many of the animals are housed at the sanctuary illegally.
So far, six red foxes, three coyotes, four eastern box turtles, and two fawns have been removed from the sanctuary. There are other non-native wildlife still on site, including 47 illegal wolf dogs.
“The DNR is currently investigating the unlicensed facility,” said Steven Burton, assistant chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division.
“We want to make sure that anyone who comes into contact with these animals at this facility is safe, and that all of the animals at the facility are being cared for properly.”
Some family disagree with the official report, including Brenda. At first, she did think that the animal bit off the arm but she changed her mind after thinking about it.
She shared the following on a Facebook post: “My granddaughter, Sophia, was involved in an incident at Howling Timbers in July. Although she had never shown interest in the animals behind the cages, instead preferring to be carried or attached at the hip, we believe she was interested in the shiny collar being worn by one of the wolf dogs.”
“A wolf-dog that was friendly, loved to be groomed, and preferred human attention over treats. We believe she grabbed his collar and he pulled to get away. She then got her arm stuck in the fence at the elbow and lost her arm,” she continued.
“After she was rushed to the hospital, I went back to the pen and picked up her little arm. I can still see it today. Her little hand was still closed as if she was still grasping the collar. She had no bite wounds on her arm. She had one tiny cut on her wrist.”
“I was bitten when I went into the pen probably due to them being stressed from all the chaos. My leg turned black and blue from my knee to my toes. I had two puncture wounds. If she was bitten, hers would have looked the same,” Brenda reasoned.
“Initially, I reported it as a bite but the more I thought about it, it didn’t make sense. If the animal bit an arm that was inside the pen, there would be bite wounds on the hand and lower part of the arm. If the animal bit the arm from the side, there would be a part of her arm missing. None of that was the case which led me to believe my first assumption was wrong.”
“I was investigated by CPS who found no wrongdoing on my part. I asked the CPS investigator if he seen any bite wounds in the pictures and he stated that he did not,” she noted.
“I would of given both my arms to save hers but it doesn’t work that way so instead, I will cherish the special little girl that amazes us every day.”
She also talked about the animals being kept illegally.
Here is a copy of our USDA application and the email address I mailed it to as instructed on 8/28/20. After 6 weeks,…
She said that the process to get permits was in place but she was waiting for directives from organizations. Some of the permits were assumed to be granted and were not.
Application copies for wildlife rehabilitation.
“She’s been applying for licenses with different departments but doesn’t follow through with the inspection process – she’s failed to complete all of her applications,” officer Anna replied.
“An application is not a permit.”
Sophia seems to be doing well. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses and for the purchase of a prosthetic for the little girl.