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Wolf-German shepherd hybrids loose in Orange County

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By Leslie Moreno

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    CEDAR GROVE, North Carolina (WRAL) — Orange County Animal Services warned the public Monday about dogs on the loose that could be a cross between wolves and German shepherds.

The dogs escaped from their enclosure in the Cedar Grove area of Orange County about a week ago, and while eight were safely captured, four others remain loose. Officials said they haven’t confirmed that all of the dogs are wolf hybrids.

There have been no reports of the dogs attacking or hurting any people, animals or livestock. But, officials noted, the dogs may display aggressive tendencies when confronted by people.

“These hybrids tend to be a little bit larger than a typical dog, and they may be more unpredictable because they are bred with wolf,” said Dr. Tara Harrison, an associate professor at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Feral dogs in general, particularly larger dogs, can certainly be very concerning,” Harrison said. “I suspect, if they’re all from the same place, they’re probably going to stay near each other. Packs can be more dangerous just because they’re all helping each other.”

Animal control officers have set traps in the Cedar Grove area, and officials urged people to call Orange County Animal Control at 919-942-7387 if they spot the dogs and not to try to feed, capture or confine them.

“The safety of these animals and the safety of the public are of the highest priority in this case,” officials said in a statement. “These dogs are not currently available for adoption or foster to the general public, and it is highly unlikely that they will ever be made available in that way. Hybrids of this kind are not able to be kept as pets in Orange County, and there is not an approved rabies vaccine for these canines.”

Harrison said a rabies vaccine exists for hybrid dogs, but there’s no proof it works for this particular mix.

“Even if they are vaccinated, they are considered not vaccinated, so that’s where the danger is,” she said.

Officials said “no outcome has been determined” once the dogs have been captured, but they are working to find options for their placement.

Owning a wolf in North Carolina is prohibited, Harrison said, but anything less than 100 percent wolf is allowed as a pet, although every county has its own rules. Animal Control said hybrids of this kind are not able to be kept as pets in Orange Co.

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