A Des Moines animal has been in custody since late April when she was picked up running loose, according to a story in the Des Moines Register.
When her owner Crystal Smith tried to retrieve her from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, “someone decided the animal looked like a wolf and detained it.”
Someone? Decided? It? …Huh?
Like many other cities, Des Moines has an ordinance prohibiting residents from keeping a wolf, although there is no ordinance regarding wolf hybrids.
Smith insists that her dog isn’t a wolf. "I am not positive of her breed mix, but she has a Siberian husky look," said Smith, who has owned the animal for about eight years. "She does not have wild animal tendencies. She's very tame and friendly."
Police Sgt. Scott Raudabaugh, Des Moines' chief humane officer, said: "All the indicators, to me, are that it's a wolf. My dilemma is I can't just walk away from that. I don't feel comfortable with someone keeping it in the city like it's a dog."
Apparently Scrappy hasn’t been habitually running loose or a danger to the community. We can assume that the “chief humane officer” Raudabaugh (who insists on referring to Scrappy an “it”) would have brought this out since these would be important points to justify keeping her locked away.
Since the wolf is an ancestor of the dog, a DNA test will not confirm positively whether an animal is a dog or a wolf.
When Scrappy’s case came up in court last week, she was allowed out of the slammer and put on probation in the care of Darcy Emehiser, a professional dog trainer, who declared under oath that she has ample insurance and an escape proof fenced area.
So Scrappy and Smith are still in limbo until the next court hearing and no date has been set.
Of course Smith is having to pay a lawyer to fight city hall and I’m betting that indefinite boarding with the dog trainer will not be inexpensive.
It’s hard to believe that Scrappy would be judged solely on her looks. And from the picture, she looks like millions of other dogs worldwide.
As far as “looks” are concerned, I wrote an earlier post about a breeder in our area who bred his gentle German Shepherd to his sweet-tempered Malamutes and sold the puppies for premium prices, claiming they were “part wolf.”
The puppies he produced looked more wolf-like than either parent.
Obviously no one is going to say my Poodles or Chihuahua mix look like wolves, but people have told us that Chamois the generic dog looks like a wolf. Without breeding papers, which mutts never have, how can an owner prove a negative?