In the Spirit of The Wolf-dog
Did anyone else catch last Friday’s nights episode? I was pleased to see Cesar Millan addressed this growing issue along with his Special Guest Jennifer McCarthy, Wolf-dog Master.
Yes… Wolf-dogs are such majestic creatures to behold, when I first saw one the day I was standing on a line at PetSmart during my weekly run… without turning my head from the corner of my eye I see this magnificent beast of a dog. It was ENORMOUS, on all fours her height alone had to be over 3.5 feet tall, which I can say with confidence because I’m 5’9″. Of course by now, you know I’m looking with both eyes, her paws were a bit larger than the size of my fist, and her broadness, OMG purely solid. With such a puppy dog face, my heart melted, nearly everyone who had the balls to walk by her when they entered or exited the store stopped and inquired “how old” the answer; “8 months”. Next question “which breed” the answer; “Wolf-dog”. No need in asking about the gender, there were no dangling participles apparent.
The sheer size of her was mind-blowing, therefore I recognize why there’s been such an unyielding desire of ownership and bragging status for the Wolf-dog. Unfortunately this has come as a double edge blade for the beloved Wolf/Dog mix.
Most Wolf-dog owners underestimate the responsibility associated in owning this hybrid Wolf/Dog pet (and I use the word “Pet” loosely). As puppies they appear to be controllable until they bulk up in weight, develop their personalities, then do what they are designed to do…. graduate to their pack position where conflict begins between owner and pet.
The Wolf-dog has now connected to its identity, equally as human adolescents do. Which happens to be against most Wolf-dog owners and some Parents intentions. How do you think these owners who have lost control handle this frustrating situation… they surrender or kick the Wolf-dog out of its adopted human pack.
Our ignorance to have them as pets has placed them in harm’s way, how so you may ask: Did you know an estimate number of Wolf-dogs once in a domestic settings are being euthanized each year range up to 10,000.
Nancy Brown provides the correct definition erasing all myths.
Animal Control and Legal Issues
Regulation of wolf hybrids varies greatly in different parts of the country. Federal Animal Welfare Act regulations define hybrids as domestic animals, and they are regulated as are other dogs. Several States require permits to keep hybrids, a few States prohibit their possession, and many States do not regulate them at all.
Hybrids can pose perplexing problems for local animal control agencies. The question of jurisdiction is often unclear. Local animal control ordinances are often written exclusively for dogs. Most State wildlife agencies do not regard wolf hybrids as wildlife even though the animals may be legally defined as being wild or exotic. As a result, many hybrids may not be regulated by any local statute, making troublesome animals and owners a difficult problem for their communities.
Yet another problem for animal control agencies is the difficulty in identifying an animal as a wolf hybrid. There is no test currently available that will differentiate a hybrid from a dog or a wolf. Animal control agencies often must rely solely on the word of the owner in determining whether or not an animal is a wolf hybrid. Recently developed techniques, such as genetic probing, hold some promise as possible methods of identification, but no work is currently being done with regard to wolf hybrids.
Many animal shelters have had difficulties dealing with hybrids. Aside from housing and handling concerns, adoption to the public has proven to be risky. In 1988, a wolf hybrid was adopted from a humane society shelter in Florida. Several hours after it was taken home, it escaped from its new owner’s fenced yard and killed a neighbor’s 4-year-old boy. The shelter was sued and paid $425,000 in a settlement to the child’s parents. Since this incident, shelters around the country have been reluctant to put these animals up for adoption. Instead, the animals are euthanized once the required holding period is over.
Rabies vaccination for wolf hybrids is yet another difficult issue. Although it is likely that current rabies vaccines are as efficacious in the hybrid as they are in the dog, Federal regulations require that any vaccine be tested in a species before it can be approved for use in that species. Due to the expense, no such testing has ever been done on either wolves or hybrids. Regardless, many hybrids have been vaccinated with canine rabies vaccine. Such vaccinations are not officially recommended or recognized, and in some States may even be illegal. Consequently, hybrids that have bitten someone are often treated differently than a dog would be. In many cases the hybrid must be destroyed and the brain examined, regardless of whether or not it was vaccinated for rabies.
In some States, veterinarians have had legal problems as a result of treating wolf hybrids in their practices. Recently, a veterinarian in New Jersey was sued and found liable for damages after a wolf hybrid he had treated later bit someone. To further complicate matters, veterinarians may find that their malpractice insurance does not offer coverage in a suit involving a wolf hybrid, if the hybrid has no permit or is owned illegally. The American Veterinary Medical Association recently issued a statement saying that their malpractice insurance carrier would not cover suits involving wolf hybrids if the animal’s owner has no permit in a State that requires one, or if hybrids are prohibited in the State in which the incident occurred.
What can you do to save Wolf-dogs and help educate others who want them
By doing some of the following:
- Sponsor a Wolf-dog from a Wolf-dog Sanctuary.
- Volunteer your time at a Wolf-dog Sanctuary if you can not afford to sponsor one.
- By sharing this post.
- Do some major research, speak with a Veterinarian, find out what your State’s regulations are.
- Watching this Documentary video.
If you’re ever in the North Carolina Black Mountain area… stop by Full Moon Farms learn about Wolf-dogs and spread the word around to educate others. Show support of the Wolf-dogs rites of passage. You may also follow “Full Moon Farms” on Twitter, I am.
Sanctuary & Rescue Links:
Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, New Mexico
Howling Woods Farms , New Jersey
Of course I feel deeply sorry for the Parent’s who lost their four-year old child. The very reason one should think with extreme caution before obtaining a Wolf-dog as a pet.
Fact: Wolf-dogs are able to jump 6 feet straight off the ground without a running leap to clear a fence. It’s strongly recommended to have a closure for Wolf-dogs 6 feet high, in conjunction to the post being firmly secured by concrete several feet under ground. Wolf-dogs are highly experienced natural diggers, they excavate their dens in the wild.