Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wolf hybrid removed from Weyyakin

Dog gave birth to 6 puppies under a porch

Express Staff Writer

A dog believed to be a wolf hybrid was removed from the Weyyakin area in southern Sun Valley last week after she gave birth to six puppies and was reportedly acting aggressively.

"We decided we had to get her out of there before somebody got bit," said Lee Garwood, a conservation officer with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The dog and her six puppies were being held under impound Tuesday at the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley near Hailey. Shelter personnel reported that she's not particularly friendly, but has not been aggressive either.

"She has been very agreeable to being handled and being cared for," said JoAnne Dixon, a veterinarian and the shelter's executive director.

She described the dog as larger than a German shepherd, dark mottled brown in color and with a definite "wolfy look about her." The puppies, just over a week old, still have their eyes closed. All six are black.

The dog and her puppies were removed from the Weyyakin area on Wednesday, Feb. 20. Garwood said neighbors reported that she had been in the area for about a month but had recently been acting aggressively toward other dogs and had even growled at a resident.

Garwood found the animal under a back porch, along with the puppies.

"That probably explains her aggressiveness," he said.

Garwood called in the Sun Valley Police Department and Blaine County Animal Control for assistance in catching the dog. But he's the one who had to crawl under the porch. He snagged her with a catchpole and then retrieved the puppies.

"She wasn't aggressive when we caught her," he said.

Dixon said the dog and puppies are being held until Thursday under a seven-day impound for the city of Sun Valley. The seven-day period is required in case an owner comes forward and claims the animals.

What happens after that is uncertain. The shelter does not make it a practice to adopt out wolf hybrids, since they aren't considered to be good candidates for pets.

"It's premature to anticipate what we can do," she said. "We're trying to explore some possibilities. There are perhaps wolf hybrid rescue organizations that do provide homes."

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