Commission approves SWCC permit

The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center has been providing medical care for thousands of animals for years. Some residents want them to close up and leave, and now a decision will help decide the center's fate.

The question was whether the center would get a special use permit to continue operations. One neighbor, Dr. Seth Gortler has objected to the coyotes and wolves at the center, saying their owling is intolerable. He also claimed the center was acting like a zoo.

Supporters were ready with signs backing the center and planned to speak at the meeting. But they never got the chance; the commission approved the conservation center's special use permit.

"This was really a nice morning, thought we would have a turn to speak, but they passed it by consent, so silence is golden, we didn't have to say anything," said Jim Paxon with AZ Game and Fish.

In granting the special use permit, the commission rejected claims that the SWCC was acting like a zoo. Now the center's director says work can go forward.

"It gives us 20 years to be able to operate and do educational programs, and tours, and support the rehab part of our sanctuary," said Linda Searles.

There are 15 days for anyone opposing the permit to appeal. Dr. Gortler's attorney was contacted for comment but did not respond.