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Functions of the US Wolf Refuge

The UNITED STATES WOLF REFUGE first started doing wolf and wolf dog rescue back in 1984. This was long before domestic wolves and wolf dogs became so prevalent and controversial. We immediately became recognized all across the country as one of the premier sanctuaries for these animals. We obtained our non-profit status in 1992. We moved from the heat of the Phoenix, AZ area to the cool of Prescott, AZ in 1993. Encroaching residential growth there caused us to move to our present location in northern Nevada.

The UNITED STATES WOLF REFUGE has over twenty-six (26) years of experience in dealing with these animals on a daily basis. Its founder and curator is certified in assessing and evaluating animal behavior, and has done extensive studies and research into wolf and wolf-hybrid behavior. This research and experience is used to:

  • Provide extensive information and education services that inform present and prospective wolf and wolf-dog owners, as well as the general public about wolf and wolf-dog behavior, and about the human behavior required when dealing with them. Information is also presented on the history, evolution, the recovery programs, the present situation, and the future prognosis of these magnificent creatures.
  • Study and research wolf and wolf-dog behavior and physiology to better understand their needs and to provide them a better quality of life.
  • Take in and provide refuge to as many homeless and unwanted wolves and wolf-dogs as feasibly possible until they are found suitable permanent living situations.
  • Locate permanent homes that meet all the physical, social, attitudinal, and financial requirements that are needed to assure these animals a safe haven for the remainder of their lives.
  • Assist in any and all activities that are necessary to insure the successful enactment of the reintroduction program of the Mexican gray wolf, and that a viable, perpetual, self-sustaining population is returned to the wild of the southwest U.S.
  • Be actively involved in the legislative, political, and legal process concerning all animal related regulations.
  • Assist in the investigation of any suspected illegal or inhumane keeping of wolves or wolf dogs.
  • Testify as an expert witness in cases that deal with any issues related to these animals. top of page

Purpose & Philosophy


The U.S. WOLF REFUGE is in existence to promote and protect the welfare of all wolves and wolf dogs throughout North America. Our overall goals are to return the wolf to its rightful place within our ecology and to promote healthy and harmonious relations between man and wolf dogs.


Virtually all of the recent tragic incidents involving wolves and wolf dogs have been a direct result of humans ineffectively dealing with them. If wolf and wolf dog behavior is understood and properly dealt with, man’s relationship with them will be happy and harmonious. The UNITED STATES WOLF REFUGE is dedicated to this belief.

This is a needed function due to man’s differing opinions toward the wolf. It is the belief of the U.S. WOLF REFUGE that wolves are wildlife and belong in the wild as is naturally intended. Those who oppose the mere existence of the wolf must understand that the wolf is an absolute necessity to the natural balance of any ecosystem. Those who revere the wolf and make it out to be something greater than it is must understand the same thing. The wolf is simply a piece in Mother Nature’s delicate and complicated puzzle.

It is only by the hand of man that wolves find themselves in captive living situations forced to live their lives according to man’s rules. This is wrong! Wolves that have experienced captive and domestic living situations can no longer be released into the wild. Therefore they must live the remainder of their lives in captivity, behaving in a manner that is foreign to their nature.

Wolves do not make good pets! Wolves are wildlife, not pets! Wolf at Waters EdgeWhat is even more wrong is for man to deliberately breed the traits of the wolf back into our dogs, undoing over 30,000 years of domestication. We don’t have enough adequate homes for our dogs. There surely is not enough of the specialized homes needed for these wolf dogs. If you now breed wolf dogs or plan to in the future… DON’T !!! It is very irresponsible to contribute to the significant pet overpopulation problem by adding to it these animals that are tragically misunderstood and often difficult to effectively deal with.

Some of these wolf dogs are living quite happily in pampered homes with humans who have the understanding, patience, and devotion that they need. But many are living miserable lives with frustrated humans in situations that can easily be corrected with the right knowledge and behavior.

It is now estimated that there is well over 1,000,000 wolves and wolf-dogs being kept as pets in this country. In fact, there may be as many as 2,000,000. It is a very vogue animal to have today. Unfortunately, they are a breed that is here to stay. They cannot be legislated away. They cannot be regulated away. Their situation can only be rectified with education. This is the primary function of the UNITED STATES WOLF REFUGE. If we can correct many of the human behaviors that are causing the relational problems with these animals, we can improve the lives of both the humans and the wolf or the wolf dog. Also, if we reduce the number of these animals that are being brought into this world, fewer of them will have to experience the frustration of living in way that is difficult for them.

Since so many people are unable or unwilling to provide these wolf dogs an adequate home, therefore they need a place for these animals to go. Animal control agencies and humane societies will euthanize them without putting them up for adoption. Providing an alternative place for these animals to go is another important function of the UNITED STATES WOLF REFUGE. We take in and find homes for wolves and wolf dogs that are socialized enough to adjust to a new pack/family without significant trauma. This is a complicated and delicate process in that it requires an in-depth assessment of the animal as well as the people who are willing to bring such an animal into their home and into their lives.

Due to the years of experience with hundreds of these animals, significant certified professional training and its resulting expertise, the curator of the UNITED STATES WOLF REFUGE is often asked to testify or submit depositions in cases where any animal is involved. He has spoken in front of a number of legislative bodies and helped several municipalities in drafting animal related ordinances. He is certified in assessing the behavior of various animals for animal assisted therapy and service dog programs. He was actively involved in the USFWS Mexican Wolf Recovery Program in the southwest, and was instrumental in getting three of these animals released to a small but exceptional non-profit zoo in Prescott, Arizona.

The UNITED STATES WOLF REFUGE is committed to enhancing the welfare of not only those animals under their care, but all animals. As the name implies, wolves are our area of expertise and we are willing to assist in any way possible.

William E. Chamberlain, Jr.

Founder, president, CEO, curator, director of operations  U.S. Wolf Refuge

          38th anniversary – started in 1984

President  Chamberlain Consulting Services: business consultant specializing in managerial & organizational development

Education: MBA  2005  •  Bachelors 1988  •   AA  1983

Areas of specialization:

  •       observation and modification of human behavior in the workplace
  •       observation and modification of a wide variety of animal behavior
  •       relationships of human and canine behavior
  •       have directly interacted with over 3000 wolves/wolf-dogs spanning 38 years 
  •       have had custody at the Refuge of over 600 wolves and/or wolf-dogs 

The education outreach program is presented all over the country to wildlife agencies, field officers, universities, high schools elementary/middle schools, wildlife groups and the general public

Instrumental in the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf 

Attended the very first release of the Mexican wolves in Jan of 1998 spoke at every public hearing prior to the initial release -my research data concerning prey and water availability was instrumental in the Mexican wolf’s Environmental Impact Statement

One Comment

  • Laura Winner says:

    This organization and particularly Bill Chamberlain are what wildlife preservation is all about. A#1 organization, you can’t go wrong with supporting US Wolf Refuge!

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