Wyoming Officials Investigate If Having Wolf In Bar Is Food Safety Violation

The Wyoming Department of Agriculture is sending an inspector to the Green River Bar in Daniel to determine whether a live wolf being taken into the bar amounts to a food safety violation.

Mark Heinz

April 15, 20244 min read

The Green River Bar in Daniel Wyoming is the town’s oldest building. It was built in 1899.
The Green River Bar in Daniel Wyoming is the town’s oldest building. It was built in 1899. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

In a matter related to the torment of a wolf that has enraged people around the world, Wyoming state officials say they plan to investigate whether having a life wolf in the Green River Bar in Daniel rose to the level of being a food safety violation.

“We are aware of it, and we are sending an inspector (to the site),” Wyoming Department of Agriculture Public Information Officer Derek Grant told Cowboy State Daily on Monday.

The Department of Agriculture’s Consumer Health Services Division (CHS) conducts inspections of establishments that serve food. A CHS inspector will be sent to the Green River Bar to determine if having a life wolf in the establishment, which serves food, amounted to a violation.

No further information was available from the Department of Agriculture on Monday.

Failing a retail food safety inspection can result in unspecified fines and penalties, which can vary at the discretion of the inspecting agency, according to the Wyoming Food Handlers' Guide.

For particularly egregious offenses, an establishment’s retail food permit can be temporarily suspended, or even permanently revoked, according to the guide.

A message left for the bar’s owner hadn’t been answered as of publication time for this story.

Disturbing Videos, Account Of Events

The bar has been a focal point of controversy and outrage since reports broke that Daniel resident Cody Roberts, 42, had taken a live — and apparently seriously injured — wolf into the bar Feb. 29.

They Wyoming Game and Fish Department last week released videos that allegedly show the wolf languishing on the floor in the bar.

Another video obtained by Cowboy State Daily allegedly depicts Roberts toying with the animal, lifting its head to kiss it, while the wolf weakly bares its teeth.

According to Wyoming Game and Fish Department accounts of events that day, Roberts captured the wolf after running it down with a snowmobile. He then took the wolf back to his residence and then to the bar, and at one point taped its muzzle shut.

After allegedly showing the wolf off and teasing it in the bar, Roberts took it out behind the establishment and killed it.

Roberts was later cited for illegal possession of a live wolf and fined $250, according to Game and Fish.

‘One Little Thing I Could Do’

The incident has sparked livid reactions. Many people have been calling for stiffer penalties for Roberts and possible consequences for the bar.

Vermont resident David McGee sent an email to the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, which he copied to Cowboy State Daily, asking if the bar could be penalized for a food safety violation.

He cited Wyoming statutes, which read in part that “… live animals may not be allowed on the premises of an establishment or processing plant.”

McGee told Cowboy State Daily on Monday that Vermont has similar regulations.

“I can’t even bring my dog into a restaurant. So I really wondered about having a live wolf that was apparently insured, maybe bleeding, and with ticks and everything else, inside an establishment that serves food,” he said.

McGee said that he was appalled by accounts of the wolf being kept alive to suffer and be abused, and thought that sending an email to the Department of Agriculture was at least doing something.

“It’s not much, but it felt like one little thing I could do to possibly make a difference,” he said.

He added that he was pleased to hear that an inspector is being sent to the bar.

It’s The Department Of Ag’s Call

Any possible food safety violations in Sublette County would be solely within the CHS’s jurisdiction, Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti stated in response to text messages from Cowboy State Daily on Monday.

“The Wyoming Department of Health does not have a regulatory role related to food and beverage status,” Deti said. “Some counties have their own health departments with that role. In others, including Sublette County, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture fills that role.”

The Department of Health “only get involved with food service when there are outbreaks of human illness and even then, it's not a regulatory role,” she added.

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Mark Heinz can be reached at mark@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter