NEW TIMES: What is WHAR’s story?
KRUTSINGER: We are a grassroots organization formed in 1999 in San Luis Obispo County. We are doing animal rescue for captive-born part-blood and full-blood wolves in the western states of the U.S. WHAR stands for Wolf Hybrid Adoption and Rescue.
NEW TIMES: Your upcoming event is celebrating a re-opening. Why did you close in the first place?
KRUTSINGER: We were forced to close our original location. We were located in the way of the new Highway 46 E bridge. In order for them to expand the bridge, they brought the property, relocating the animal rescue.
NEW TIMES: What is the difference between hybrid wolves and full-blood wolves?
KRUTSINGER: All the animals we handle are captive. The hybrid wolf is generally easier to domesticate and is either part dog or part hybrid. They can be managed by more general behavior techniques that you can use for a dog. The law is different for hybrid wolves than it is for full-blood wolves. The USDA considers full-blood wolves a “restrictive species.” To legally have a full-blood wolf, you have to have a permit from the Department of Fish and Game. Legally, hybrid wolves are considered domesticated pets. Behavior differences vary. Full-blood wolves can be more aggressive and territorial, but also hybrid wolves are prone to surprise behavior.
NEW TIMES: When did you start working with wolves?
KRUTSINGER: I started the organization in 1999. It was prompted by getting my own hybrid wolf. I adopted him from a local lady, and that connection with him was able to inspire me to seek out other hybrid wolves that need rescue and adoption.
NEW TIMES: What kinds of animal interactions can guests experience at this event?
KRUTSINGER: Guests will be able to have photo and video opportunities with some hybrid wolves. For the behavior demonstrations, the system we use to induce cooperation and get them to abide by the rules of the compound is a series of body language motions and hand signals. We use very few verbal commands. These animals are not as readily obedient as a domestic dog. Their wild instincts prompt them to challenge leadership, not always in a bad way, but they want to understand why things are being asked of them. It’s important to be able to communicate your request for their behavior. We do that through the hand signals and body language. They, in turn, use body language to communicate as well. We will be demonstrating that communication. ∆