And they won’t return him to his family.
The Abbato family in Aurora, Colo. has had Capone for nearly 10 years. They rescued him as a puppy from a shelter where he was classified as a German Shepherd mix.
The family's veterinarian also says the same thing.
But Aurora Animal Control thinks based on his mannerisms, behavior and physical characteristics Capone is a wolf-hybrid.
However, a dog who is accustomed to being in a loving home is often traumatized by the experience of being trapped by strangers and put into prison. Even animal behavior experts cannot always identify wolf hybrids with any degree of accuracy just from looks and behavior.
With all due respect to Animal Control, I would be more inclined to accept the word of a veterinarian who has had prior experience with the animal.
Capone jumped the fence on February 24 for the first time in the 7 years they lived there. Animal Control picked him up that same day but would not release him to the family when they came to claim him, saying he was part wolf.
The city ran a DNA test to determine his breed on March 1 and if the results prove he's a wolf-hybrid, the family dog would be sent to a wolf sanctuary or put down if there is no space available.
I understand the need to protect the public. I wrote a post on wolf-dogs several years ago calling them dangerous and unpredictable. I was besieged with letters and comments saying how loyal and gentle these animals are as pets.
The Aurora Animal Control seems to be overreaching by far. A 10-year history of being a good dog should outweigh any DNA testing. Don't they have bigger problems than Capone and his loving, heartbroken owners?
In ten years Capone hasn’t once blown down pig houses, dressed as a grandmother, or eaten neighborhood children.
Meanwhile, he sits in the shelter, away from his family and his two dog buddies who've grown up together.
Owner Tracy Abbato said, "It's hard for me. It's hard for my kids. He's a family member. We've had him for almost 10 years. We miss him, I don't understand. This dog has a loving, caring home. People who abuse dogs, leave them outside in 2-degree weather, how do they still have their dogs?”