Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Collier County is getting ready to move to its location after it hoped to expand for many years.
On top of the animals having more room, the new location in Golden Gate Estates will be used as a place for personal pets to go during a hurricane.
For two decades, Shy Wolf Sanctuary has been in Nancy and Kent Smith’s backyard, rescuing over 1,200 animals of all shapes and sizes.
“We’re extremely excited,” said Deanna Deppen, the sanctuary director. “It’s been a long time coming, many years we’ve been trying to find the right property.”
Deppen says they just signed a $1.7 million dollar contract to go from a 2.5-acre piece of land to 17 acres.
The volunteers are excited for the new property, and the animals will likely be too once they are taken to their new home.
“The enclosures will be bigger, and they will have more enrichment,” Deppen said. “We’re hoping to have rock formations that they can climb on and waterfalls they can go behind, maybe cool off in the hot Florida sun.”
The sanctuary is also planning to build a Category 5 hurricane-proof shelter on the property.
“Whether it’s emergency responders or people who want to go to a shelter so they can go to the shelter,” Deppen said. “We’re building with double the capacity of kennels and also will have big areas in the middle where we can set up temporary kennels and have animals there as well.”
That way, no animals will be left behind during a storm.
“Right now. the shelters only allow dogs and cats, so someone with reptiles or birds can’t take them there,” Deppen said. “So we can be a resource for them as well.”
The new sanctuary will sit on the corner of 3rd Street NW and Golden Gate Boulevard. Shy Wolf is currently fundraising and taking donations to help before it can start building, which the sanctuary hopes to start in 12 to 18 months.
With the expansion of the land and enclosures, the sanctuary will also expand its research.
“You can’t follow wild wolves and see how they react in new territories,” Deppen said. “So we can work with universities, colleges to create behavioral studies of the animals.”