Sunday, May 17, 2015

‘Wolf hybrid’ seizure being contested before Yolo supervisors

By Jim Smith, Woodland Daily Democrat Yolo supervisors could be put in the unenviable position of determining when a wolf is not a wolf.
Worse, supervisors may have to decide when a dog becomes a wolf.

On Tuesday, supervisors will hear arguments from the Yolo County Counsel’s Office and an attorney for Esparto resident Shandal White, who allegedly raised wolf hybrids at her Grafton Street residence only to see them confiscated by the county.

The canines have been held at the Yolo County Animal Shelter since being taken on April 24 by officials under a 2007 ordinance which bans the breeding and selling of such animals.

The county states that as many as eight animals were seized, although other information indicates only seven were confiscated.

According to details filed by Philip Pogledich, county counsel, the issue is being appealed to supervisors because White contends the finding is wrong.

For his part, Pogledich cites a Yolo County code that defines a wolf hybrid as a mammal that, based on substantial evidence, is found to be the offspring of any species of “wild canid or wild canid hybrid and a domestic dog or a wild canid hybrid.”

A wolf hybrid can include hybrids not only of wolves, but of coyotes, foxes or even dingoes if those should happen to show up in the county from their native Australia.

Animal Services staff determined the canines taken from White were hybrids based on their traits and physical characteristics. Additionally, a DNA test of at least one animal by UC Davis veterinary experts determined it as a wolf hybrid.

Other evidence being presented to the board includes:

•The animals are difficult to handle due to a lack of trust in handlers, although they develop trust in a few days.
•Relentless pacing in a circular pattern.
•Challenging to handlers by appearing to trust, but sometimes lunging aggressively on entry into the kennel or moving away and unwilling to be touched.
•Their build and stance is tall and lanky; when moving naturally the head is lowered.
•Facial features are those of a long narrow muzzle, eyes set low in the face and close to the muzzle, and ears erect and set close together.

Still further evidence is that White sold the animals as wolf hybrids on her webpage, on Facebook and in Craig’s list advertisements. Supervisors are being asked to make a finding that the animals are hybrids so Animal Control officials can “disposed of as determined to be appropriate by the Chief of Animal Services.” And if supervisors find White was indeed raising the hybrids, she could also be billed for their confinement at the Animal Shelter.