LAKEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) – Monday night, the Lakeville city council could take steps that could lead to the closure of an animal rescue facility.
Mikayla Raines works to save foxes from fur farms. She rescues the animals with the intention of eventually finding a new home for them.
Last year, the city awarded her an interim use permit, allowing her to have the animals. But now city officials say she’s violating the terms.
Mikayla recently took in a pair of fox kits that were born on St. Patrick’s Day. Her two new animals join the five full-grown foxes living on her Lakeville property.
“These were captive-raised foxes and I raised them from young,” she said while playing with three of the foxes.
Mikayla’s love of the animal began when she was a teenager. Three years ago, the now 22-year-old brought home her first fox not realizing she was in the early stages of building her fox sanctuary. Today, she rescues the animal from fur farms by taking them in before they’re killed for their pelts.
“I think it’s important to educate people there are still fur farms,” Raines said.
Last week, she learned her mission for education and awareness could be in limbo.
On Wednesday, Mikayla received notice that the city is taking steps to reconsider her permit.
“My first reaction was I’m bawling because I’m terrified my animals are going to be taken from me,” Raines said.
According to city officials, Mikayla violated terms of her permit by expanding the fencing on her property and bringing in more foxes than allowed.
The conditions of the interim use permit stipulate that the enclosure can’t be larger than 140 square feet and she can’t have more than three foxes on the property. Currently, she has seven.
“There’s a lot the city doesn’t understand,” she said.
Mikayla feels she’s following the rules. She said she has a USDA license, which requires space for the animals and doesn’t set limits on the number of foxes she can have on the property. Mikayla also says the majority of the foxes won’t stay with her permanently.
“Ninety percent of the foxes that come through here are getting re-homed,” she said.
Unsure of the future, Mikyala isn’t giving up on a cause she sees as more than just an animal rescue.
“I consider them my family,” Mikayla said.
The city council is expected to move forward with the process Monday night.
Next it would go to a planning commission hearing, which would offer recommendations on whether her permit should be revoked.