The German shepherd lab mix that the Abbato family adopted and named Capone 10 years ago, is now being held against the owners will at Adams County Animal Shelter in Brighton, Colorado; pending DNA results to determine if he is, in fact, a dog-wolf hybrid.
It is illegal to own any wild animal hybrid in the city of Aurora, according to Aurora Animal Control which picked up Capone after he had jumped a fence last month and went missing.
At first relieved when she found out Capone had been found, a distraught Tracy Abbato explained to a local television reporter the horror she encountered when she tried to take her beloved family member home.
“They said he has characteristics of a wolf. I asked what those characteristics were. They didn’t give me any explanation other than he was aggressive,” said Abbato who expressed that she feels like her children are being punished. “They sleep with the dog at night and it’s hard watching my kids because they’re taking it rough.”
According to Michael Bryant, senior public information officer with the Aurora Animal Shelter, officers suspected Capone might be part wolf based on “experience and behavior.”
DNA testing was not prevalent when Capone was first adopted due to the expense but Adams County spokesperson, Jim Siedlecki, explained that it is now common practice when a dog’s breed is being questioned.
If the tests positively identify Capone as part wolf, it is reported that he would then have to be relocated to a wolf sanctuary or euthanized, if officials are not able to place him.
Per local news reports, “As far as the state of Colorado is concerned, as long as a dog is at least 1% domesticated, it’s legal;” but local laws have the ability to override that opinion.
Officials have indicated that the Abbatos are facing several charges, including “having an aggressive animal; having a dog run at large; and keeping an exotic, wild, or dangerous animal.”
Aurora, Colorado City Hall issued a statement on Facebook yesterday expressing its “hope there will be an amicable resolution to this situation.”
Though it claims that Wolfdogs are perhaps among the most misunderstood and mismanaged animals in the country. “Advocates say they can be wonderful pets, while opponents argue that they’re unpredictable, untrainable and inherently dangerous.”
The results of Capone’s DNA test should be returned in approximately two weeks.
Source: KUSA-TV, The Bark
Photo Credits: The Abbato family, wolf.org
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