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LEGAL GROUP FIGHTS MOVIE WOLF STATEMENT

Wolves are not as harmless as the Walt Disney Co. would have viewers of their "White Fang" movie believe, according to the Mountain States Legal Foundation.

At the end of the movie on Jack London's book of the same name, which chronicles a young man's adventures in Alaska during the gold rush, is a statement telling viewers that "there has never been a documented case of a healthy wolf or pack of wolves attacking a human in North America."Perry Pendley, president and chief legal officer of the Denver-based legal foundation, has written Disney's chief executive officer, Michael Eisner, to take issue with that statement. He also asked Eisner to remove the statement from the movie.

"While uncommon, attacks by wolves upon humans have, indeed, occurred, both in the early years of the settlement of this country and more recently," Pendley said.

Disney officials were not immediately able to comment on Pendley's request, which was contained in a press release issued Monday.

The attacks cited by Pendley included some dating to 1830 and others as recent as 1987 and 1989.

The more recent attacks occurred in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, where a 16-year-old girl was bitten by a wolf and in Minnesota, where two children were attacked, one fatally, by wolves kept as pets.

Pendley said some of the accounts were reported by John James Audubon, the renowned painter, and noted historian George B. Grinnell.

In his letter to Eisner, the lawyer asked that the wolf statement be removed from the movie before it is released for home videos.

"Prior to releasing `White Fang' in video format, I urge you to remove the incorrect statement regarding wolves and mankind," Pendley wrote. "For the sake of factual accuracy, as well as for the sake of those children who come in contact with animals in the wild, I sincerely hope that you do so."

The foundation is a non-profit legal center dedicated to the preservation of the multiple-use of public lands and limited government intervention in private enterprise.