Overall, the wolf hybrid has been presented negatively by the press. Attacks by hybrids, often on children, are unfortunately sensational and make headline news. The public is given the impression that these animals are “genetic monsters”: confused, even “schizophrenic” and “unpredictable”. The press paints a picture of a dangerous “vicious” animal snarling and baring its teeth, figure 66. The truth is that the animals often receive blame for what essentially is not a “vicious animal” problem, but is a people problem. Figure 66 is not a “snarling” hybrid, it is a yawning hybrid.
For any number of reasons, people are attacked by pets. Canines can be especially dangerous around children whose behavior often mimics that of distressed prey. Popular reports such as was published by Animal People (1995) where wolf hybrids rank third in the number of serious attacks as reported in newspaper accounts, are a survey of the number of reports which have received publicity. Attacks by most breeds of dogs are not newsworthy, so they receive little public attention compared to a “wolf attack”.
The result of all this negative publicity is a public which is becoming sensitive to the issue of hybrids. In some cases, animals are regulated or even banned.
Animals, such as those in figure 67, which were living on a roof-top in New York City, were confiscated when a reporter spotted them and followed up with a story about the animals.
The animal in figure 68 was located in a semi-residential area. The animal had just been acquired along with five others for breeding purposes. The owner claimed they were “safe” and that there was nothing to worry about. The neighbors were not completely satisfied with this, having read many reports of how “dangerous” hybrids could be. Although the neighbors were not against his owning the animals, they were very concerned about the risk posed by animals that were in insecure enclosures.
This animal, which looked like a pure wolf, was being kept in a small 2×4 welded wire mesh pen without a top or overhang. The photo was taken from an adjoining neighbor’s yard. There was no perimeter fence of any kind separating the animals’ enclosure from the rest of the neighborhood. This was one of several animals all acquired as adults about three weeks before this photo was taken. Residents were keeping their children inside for fear that they would just walk up to the enclosures and possibly be bitten. The presence of the animals made them feel trapped and unsafe.
Two days after this photograph was taken, this animal did get out, but was soon caught by the owner. Several of the other animals had escaped on a number of occasions. It was obvious that the containment was not secure. None of these animals were very social and he had a very difficult time handling them. They were not meant as pets, only as breeding stock. He bragged about plans of producing puppies and even offered the neighbors each a free puppy if they would allow him to keep the animals.
The owner did not check local ordinances and had exceeded the number of animals he could keep without a kennel license by six animals, the very six which he had just brought in. Public pressure eventually led him to return all the animals to the breeder. In this case, media publicity paid off for the benefit of the neighborhood, but as usually happens, not for the animals.
Quality of Life
Social Testing & Predation
|Socialization & Medical Care
Are Wolves and Hybrids Trainable?
Legislation & Health Care
Why Have A Wolf or Wolfdog?