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Alaska man pleads guilty to owning, selling wolf hybrids

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

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Palmer resident Werner Schuster, owner of Wolf Country USA, was sentenced in Palmer court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to one charge of owning and selling wolf hybrids, according to an Alaska Wildlife Troopers-issued press release.

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The voluntary guilty plea earned Werner Schuster a lesser sentence and the dismissal of charges brought against his wife, 69-year-old Gail Schuster, and their business. Gail and Werner Schuster and their business were all originally charged with three counts apiece in association with possessing wolf hybrids and selling wolf hybrids to other individuals.

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Wolf Country USA was a self-proclaimed tourist attraction outside of Palmer, Alaska. In June of 2011, 29 wolf hybrids were seized from the site. The animals have since been relocated to Lockwood Animal Rescue Center in Frazier Park, California for rehabilitation.

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Schuster, 81, has been ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and received a 90-day jail sentence, with all 90 days suspended. In addition, Schuster has been placed on probation for five years and ordered not to own or sell wolf hybrids without a license.

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It became illegal to own or sell a wolf hybrid without a permit in Alaska in 2002, and wolf hybrids are required to be spayed or neutered and have a microchip implanted, according to Fish and Game regulations.

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Correction: This story originally reported that Schuster would spend 90 days in jail. The jail sentence was suspended. We regret the error.