Again, why subject many generations of wolves and hybrids to early euthanasia or life in captivity to recreate an animal that already exists, with a huge variety of appearances and behaviours to choose from? Breeders who have had long-term experience with wolves and hybrids almost universally caution that hybrids are not for everyone, and that people who have them need to be prepared to deal with them very differently than with dogs.
They often refer to the relationship not as a master-pet relationship but as a "friendship" meaning that hybrids can't be ignored, can't be expected to be obedient, etc. However, few of us keep our "friends" locked in cages when we're at work or on a leash when we go for a walk on the beach. And few of us choose "friends" who destroy our car upholstery or can't be left alone with our children.
It depends. No federal laws exist to regulate wolf and hybrid ownership, as long as the animals are legally obtained not removed from an endangered wild population and are not being exhibited. However, many states, counties and cities do have regulations governing their ownership and care. It's chained up and has gotten loose a few times. What should I do? Check with city, county and state officials to make sure the animal's registration and facilities are in compliance with the law.
If they are not, demand that officials enforce compliance. If they are in compliance, make sure the owner is educated about hybrids and that neighbourhood children know how to behave around hybrids see question File a written complaint for all incidents involving the animal, no matter how minor. If enough minor complaints are lodged, officials may be able to take action before a serious incident occurs. If a serious incident does occur, a written record of incidents will help ensure a serious response. Never stick fingers, hands, possessions or food of any kind through a fence or cage unless a qualified keeper is present and says you may this goes for any kind of animal.
Many accidents happen when an animal grabs fingers or hands stuck through a fence. Never approach chained canines unless their owner is present and says you may. Never try to interact with a canine in any way unless its owner is present and says you may. And even then, proceed with caution. What a child interprets as playing may be viewed by a canine as teasing, threatening, intruding, etc.
Anytime a canine is around, adults should closely supervise children who are too young to obey rules. Children and adults without proper training should never be allowed to interact with wolves or hybrids without close supervision by a qualified, trained handler. If you feel a canine is threatening you-be it hybrid or dog-the following behaviour will minimize the risk of attack:.
Do not run or make quick movements of any kind. Tuck your arms close to your sides and cover your throat with your hands. Talk softly, slowly and in as low and confident a voice as possible. Keep your eyes on the animal, but do not stare intently into its eyes. Back away slowly, being careful not to trip or fall.
What do I need to do to keep one safely and humanely? The following are the minimum standards for keeping a wolf or hybrid safely and humanely in captivity:.
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Keep at least two animals per enclosure. Canines-especially wolves and hybrids-are very social animals and need canine companionship. For the greatest assurance of lifetime compatibility, the animals should be of the opposite sex and introduced as young as possible, preferably before they are six months old. Provide meat, hide and bones on a regular basis. Debilitating diarrhoea may result from feeding wolves and hybrids only commercial dog food.
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Obtain the knowledge necessary to handle wolves and hybrids. Learn about special techniques for raising and socializing them. Without an understanding of these techniques, you may end up with an unmanageable animal. Make sure at least one other person is trained and familiar with the animals, to provide relief-care in emergencies. Retain a veterinarian experienced with wolves or willing to do the necessary research and consultation to competently treat them. Recognize that since no legally recognized rabies vaccine exists for wolves and hybrids, authorities are acting within their responsibilities if they require an animal that has bitten someone even in play to be euthanized.
Obtain all necessary state and local permits. These can be expensive and difficult to acquire.
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They may be impossible to acquire in urban areas. Never allow children or other animals to come into direct contact with the animals, except in controlled, supervised situations, and then only with full understanding of the possible consequences for all involved if an injury occurs.
Never allow the animals to run loose.
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Purchase adequate liability insurance. Be prepared to spend a minimum of one hour per day, every day, interacting directly with the animals. Neuter the animals. Plan to provide all of the above for the lifetime of these animals-as long as 18 years. Note that many of these steps must be taken before you acquire the animals. Remember, these animals did not ask to be born or ask you to acquire them. I can't keep it safely anymore.
Do not pass your responsibility on to an unsuspecting party.
A few organizations the Internet is a good resource provide care for unwanted wolves and hybrids, but requests to place these animals greatly outpace available openings. You may try to place your animal in one of these facilities, but first you should visit the facility to determine whether it will provide a reasonable life for the animal. It is difficult for hybrids and wolves to adapt to new surroundings and new people. It is imperative that you are honest about what is best for your animal. Passing your responsibility on to someone else may make you feel better, but often the least cruel fate is to take responsibility and humanely euthanize your animal.
Unless they are part of a special governmentally run program where they are taught wild survival skills and are kept from becoming socialized to humans , captive wolves cannot legally or humanely be released into the wild. They do not have the hunting skills necessary for survival, and because they are socialized to humans they will seek food near human habitations. A released captive wolf or hybrid is much more likely to be killed by a wild wolf than to mate with it. However if, due to highly unusual circumstances, a hybrid bred with a wild wolf, the resultant hybrid offspring would compromise the genetic soundness of wild wolves.
Does private ownership also contribute to the survival of wolves in the wild? One needs to question the motives for wolf and hybrid ownership.
Many people naively believe that owning a wolf or hybrid helps wild wolves because it keeps the genes "alive. At worst, should this "pet" rip off a child's arm as one did in Lolo, Montana or kill livestock or pets, it reinforces age-old fears of the wolf. A wolf's social and physical environment can never be duplicated in captivity. Clearly, individual animals don't benefit from this arrangement. If you love wolves, there are two ways to help them: fight for their survival in the wild and preserve their habitat. Write letters to government officials and urge them to protect natural habitats.
Learn about wolves the whole story, not just what you want to hear , and share your information with others. Support and volunteer for organizations that work politically and educationally to preserve wild wolves; this includes some, but not all, organizations that hold wolves in captivity-question their objectives before you support them. In time you will find that you don't have to possess wolves for them to become an important part of your life. Besides, don't you think it's tragically ironic to want to own and control wildness?
A wild pet is an oxymoron. While there are obviously many philosophical arguments, pro and con, the following summarizes Wild Sentry's position on wolves in captivity:. Having or allowing a wolf to be born into captivity in no way benefits the individual animal. Therefore, the only justifiable reason to have captive wolves is to benefit wild wolves. Captivity may be justified if the captive animal is maintained in as psychologically and physically humane an environment as possible see question 21 , and if the animal is part of:.
A well-developed, professional exhibit that furthers public understanding and tolerance for wild wolves; or. A peer-reviewed scientific research project that furthers human understanding of wolf behaviour and habitat requirements; or. A government-sanctioned breeding program for the purpose of re-establishing wild wolf populations. Not necessarily.