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The Wolfdog: A Breed In Crisis

By Laura Elliott, 1998

As the old saying goes, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions". Such a saying is exemplified by the situation of the wolfdog, whose very existence came, in part, from the misguided intentions to save an endangered species.

Now, in a situation reminiscent of it's cousin, the Wolf, it too has fallen under attack from the same dominant species that tried to both hunt and save the wolf: humans.

It is simply another story of how mankind, in an attempt to save, or domesticate a species, created greater problems in and of itself for humans, wolves, and wolfdogs. Exploitation, misuse, misunderstanding, and greed have worked in concert to place these animals in the same cross-hairs of legal "rifles", much like their endangered counterparts.

The dilemma is when to draw the limits on mankind's interference into nature to prevent even more tragedies down the line. Wolfdog breeder's are running rampant. There are big $'s to be found in a litter of wolfdog pups. These breeders prey upon the unsuspecting public by appealing to people's egos.

These animals have been bought to satisfy some of the following desires:
1) To possess a creature that "Just everyone doesn't or cannot have".

2) For use as a status symbol or an ego trip.

3) For perceived dominance over their peers, or maybe ultra-machismo.

4) For curiosity.

5) To ally their inferiority complexes.

6) For the wish to get in touch with their "primitive past", a return to nature.

What becomes of the majority of these wolfdog pups when the newness has worn off, and the average "owner" finds themselves having taken on more than they can or will handle? Sadly, most are euthanized. Many of the others left to exist are mistreated or homeless. The few rescue shelters in existence have to turn the majority of applicants away for lack of room, or not enough money to build pens, provide food or veterinary care.

A number of states have made it illegal to own or breed wolfdogs, but trying to stop it is very hard to do. Immoral "puppymills" often operate in rural areas to satisfy mail order requests, and ship pups to any state, illegal, or not. With the burden already imposed upon law enforcement, this is another matter which gets little attention from authorities, thus encouraging illegal activities to flourish. And causes many more wolfdogs to find their way to the streets, or to local pounds, where they are immediately put to death.

The plight of the wolfdog is another example of why mankind should really think twice and perhaps three times before tinkering with the delicate mechanics of Nature. With many animals abandoned and starving, it is as if they were hunted like their cousins - a destiny of death at the hands of the human species, but at a slower, more torturous pace.

The big question is, what can be done? Like owning a car or a firearm, certain conditions for ownership could be laid down to ensure that the population of wolfdogs that does exist can be provide for in a safe environment. A license could be provided as proof of training and of continuing to obey the strict guidelines of ownership. Lastly, make stiff penalties for those who breed for mere profit, with no regard to the animal's welfare.


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