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Philadelphia PA


Wolf Found Wandering In Philadelphia

Police Thought Animal Was Dog

 March 30, 2004


Philadelphia police got quite a surprise when they arrived to pick up what they thought was a stray dog last weekend. The pooch was actually a wolf.
Someone spotted what they thought was a big dog around 4 a.m. Saturday, wandering near Delaware Ave.

The animal was a little too big for police to handle alone so they called in animal control officers, who were able to corner and capture the animal.

When they got the animal back to the shelter, they realized it was no dog.

“We've handled other rare breeds, alligators, hawks, falcons, this is our first wolf,” said George Stem from Philadelphia Animal Care Control.

It was Linda Thomas's first wolf as well. She was working at the Mobil gas station when the wolf appeared across the street.

“We thought it was a big dog at first and then someone got close enough and saw it was actually a wolf,” said Thomas. “I actually thought somebody was going to hurt it, because first thing when people see a wild animal, they'll try to destroy it.”

There are no plans to destroy the animal. Animal Control officers are hoping to find a place that can provide the proper habitat for wolves, which is not the city of Philadelphia. It is actually illegal to own a wolf in the city except under strict regulations.

Officials say a man did show up to claim the wolf. He claims he bought the animal when it was a puppy. It is not clear if he knew the animal was a wolf when he purchased it. But officials say he is not likely to get the wolf back since he lives in Philadelphia.

Officials say the wolf appears to be very young and is as fragile as a puppy right now, but he may not be as docile. “The older it gets, it could go back to becoming a wild animal,” said Stem.


Wolf Roams Big City Streets

... Will Be Taken To Sanctuary

Mar 30, 2004 9:32 am US/Central
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) Animal control officers in Philadelphia were in for a
huge surprise when they captured a wolf roaming the city's streets near a
popular nightclub this past weekend.

The bigger surprise? It was a resident's pet!

Neighbors told Calvin Hughes of KYW-TV the owner had been raising wolves
inside an apartment building for years. And if you think that ruffled some
feathers or raised concern, think again.

"And I petted the wolf and I have no problem with the wolf. You can't even
pet some people!" Carol Oleksiak told Hughes.

Neighbor Tony Johnson said two wolves, a male and a female, were raised in
the apartment building. "I played with them.I was never afraid."

George Sten of Philadelphia's animal control unit said it is illegal to keep
a wolf within city limits and said the animal would be taken to a sanctuary
in western Pennsylvania where he will be rehabilitated and released into the

"We get 1,400, 1,500 strays but this wolf was the first," Sten said.


Pa. Officials Say Owner Won't Get Pet Wolf Back

by KYW's Al Novack

Wed, Mar. 31, 2004

It turns out a wolf found wandering Delaware Avenue over the weekend did not wander in from the forest. It had been living in a Northern Liberties

On Saturday, police spotted what they thought was a large dog near the
nightclub "Egypt," on Delaware Avenue near Spring Garden Street.

Animal control officers picked it up without a problem, noting that it was
very tame and docile. It even responded to the call of humans.

But, the Pennsylvania Game Commission says, it was a real wolf -- and it is
illegal to keep a wolf as a pet. They plan to "rehabilitate" it and place it
back in the wild.

But the pet's owner, who came forward to claim the animal, says he didn't
know it was a real wolf. To him, it was just a friendly dog. He wants his
pooch back.

He lives on New Market Street, near I-95, in Northern Liberties. His pet
apparently had gotten loose and wandered from its home.

What do neighbors think? They say it never bothered them and they voiced
little concern.


This 'dog' was actually a wolf


Weeyakin is a wolf with an identity crisis.

Or maybe it's his owner who has the crisis.

The owner has told animal welfare officials that he thought the wolf -
corralled outside the Egypt nightclub, at Delaware Avenue and Spring Garden streets, at 4:30 a.m. Saturday - was a dog.

The owner, who hasn't been publicly named, said he thought the animal was a German shepherd-husky mix, according to George Stem, executive director of the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association(PACCA). Stem said he thought Weeyakin might be an American Indian word but he had no idea what it meant.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has confirmed the animal is a male wolf, said Jeff Moran, spokesman for the city health department, which oversees PACCA. DNA tests will be taken to be certain the animal is indeed all wolf - not a wolf-dog hybrid, officials said.

In any event, Weeyakin's fate is sealed, Stem said.

Weeyakin will go to a wolf sanctuary, Stem said yesterday. One hasn't been
chosen yet, he said.

The fate of the owner is still up in the air.

The game commission is considering bringing charges against him.

"You just can't buy a wolf and say, 'gee, I think I'll keep the wolf in my
house,' " said state Game Commission spokesman Jerry Feaser. The owner, who reportedly lives near the nightclub, could not be reached yesterday.

Stem said the owner planned to meet today with PACCA officials to present
documentation about how he obtained Weeyakin.

Stem said authorities want to know if the animal "was sold to him as a dog."

The owner didn't even have a dog license for Weeyakin, Stem said. Owning a
wolf in Pennsylvania is illegal except under tightly controlled

He said the owner actually contacted PACCA to report his "dog" lost.

He identified Weeyakin when he went to the shelter, on Hunting Park near
Front Street.


Wolf owner fined; pet relocated

Posted on Fri, Apr. 09, 2004


An apartment and a backyard aren't the most idyllic settings to raise a
wolf - even one tame enough to be taken around to local schools for

Mark Morris knows that now, since his wolf hybrid, Weeyakin, hit the news
when it escaped from Morris' yard on New Market Street near Germantown
Avenue in Northern Liberties late last month.

The animal was captured at about 4:30 a.m. March 27 outside the nightclub
Egypt on Delaware Avenue at Spring Garden Street.

A state game commission agent said yesterday Morris had been fined $500. The
game commission charged Morris with unlawful importation and possession of
wildlife and, even though the wolf had caused no harm, with failure to
protect the public from attack by a wild animal, commission agent Jerry
Czech said.

Morris couldn't be reached for comment.

Czech said Morris had no permits for Weeyakin and didn't even have a dog
license. He said Morris told him Weeyakin was 80 percent wolf and 20 percent
dog and was purchased about two years ago, at two months old, from a woman
in Montana. He was shipped here by air.

Czech said Weeyakin was well- cared for and stayed in the backyard with
water and hay to lie on.

"He was taking it and showing it at schools and libraries in the
Philadelphia area," Czech said.

Weeyakin stayed at the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association
while Czech searched for a new home for him.

Finally, Czech located a safe setting at T&D's Cats of the World, an animal
refuge in Penns Creek, Pa., near Lewisburg.

If a haven hadn't been found, the wolf would have been euthanized, Czech
said. "It couldn't be released into the wild. It was more like a dog," than
a wolf, he said.

Terry Mattive, owner of T&D's, where Weeyakin arrived Wednesday, said he has
about 250 animals ranging from prairie dogs to Siberian tigers.

He said Weeyakin will be housed with two other wolves, Goody and Sonny, once
they have gotten used to him.

He said Weeyakin was "a little upset" with the long ride from Philadelphia
but soon seemed to bond with Mattive's daughter.

"His tail started wagging."



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