Animal control won't give dog back to owner until it can determine it's not a wolf hybrid

City ordinance prohibits exotic animals
Posted at 6:24 PM, Mar 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-14 20:25:34-04

AURORA, Colo. -- Last month, Tracy Abbato says her dog, Capone, wandered into a neighbor's front yard. Capone was picked up by animal control, which determined he could possibly by a dog-wolf hybrid.  

Animal control decided to test Capone’s DNA before releasing him back to the owner. Aurora’s city ordinance prohibits residents from owning exotic animals.

If Abbato’s dog is really a wolf, animal control will have to put him in a sanctuary or possibly put him down.

Abbato says she's in shock and will continue to fight to get her dog back. She doesn't believe he is a wolf.

"Capone is a family member.  We've had him for 10 years. He has grown up with my kids; it's devastating,” said Abbato. 

Animal Control in Aurora released the following statement:

“After receiving a complaint, Aurora Animal Services responded and picked up this animal running at large and acting aggressively, among other charges which are violations of city ordinance. Such animals are typically held at the Aurora Animal Shelter until a disposition hearing in front of a municipal judge, regardless of the charge of keeping a wild or exotic animal such as a hybrid.

"That initial hearing occurred last week, when a judge reset the case for this Wednesday because of the owner’s desire to have an attorney present. It was the judge’s ruling that the animal should remain at the Aurora Animal Shelter until this week’s hearing. At the hearing, the judge will determine whether the animal will remain at the shelter or be returned to its owners as we await the results of the DNA testing underway at the University of California-Davis.

"Aurora Animal Services ordered the DNA test after its experts observed the animal’s behavior, mannerisms and physical characteristics and believed them to be consistent with those of a wolf hybrid. If the animal is confirmed to be a wolf hybrid and a judge grants ownership to Aurora Animal Services, the primary goal would be to locate a sanctuary that specializes in such animals and can provide the animal with a new home. Aurora Animal Services is committed to balancing the needs of people and animals in the city of Aurora by providing humane shelter, treatment and placement of animals, and part of that mission involves enforcing the city’s animal laws.

"We hope there will be an amicable resolution to this case, and the shelter is committed to providing quality care to all animals it serves.”


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