United States

Tragedy Unfolds In Alabama As Family's Pet Wolf Hybrid Claims Life Of Their Three-Month-Old Infant

Tragedy struck in Alabama as a pet wolf hybrid fatally attacked a three-month-old infant, igniting debates on the suitability and legalities of keeping such animals as household pets in the United States.

Pet Wolf Hybrid Claims Life Of Their Three-Month-Old Infant

A family's pet hybrid wolf-dog in the state of Alabama has tragically killed a three-month-old infant, according to the police.

The incident occurred on Thursday in Chelsea, approximately 20 miles (32km) southwest of Birmingham, Alabama. The child succumbed to injuries believed to have been inflicted by the animal.

The Shelby County Sheriff's office reported that a veterinarian euthanized the wolf hybrid at the scene.

The city's mayor called the death "unfortunate and tragic".

"It's been confirmed that one of our children here in Chelsea was killed by an exotic family pet and succumbed to their injuries yesterday afternoon after being taken to the hospital," said Mayor Tony Picklesimer in a statement. “It’s unthinkable,’′ he added. “How do you ever get over that?”

Authorities received a 911 call reporting an animal attack at the infant's residence on Thursday around 13:00 local time (19:00 GMT). Subsequently, the child was transported to the hospital, where they were later pronounced dead as a result of injuries sustained in the attack.

The police identified the creature as a "wolf hybrid" that the infant's family had kept as a domestic pet.

They further stated that they are actively investigating the circumstances that led to the child's tragic demise.

The International Wolf Center has issued a comprehensive online cautionary statement advising against the adoption of such hybrids into household environments.

“People who own hybrids often find that their pet’s behavior makes it a challenge to care for,” since their inherent genetic makeup constitutes for an inconsistent behaviour that is unpredictable in ways that pose safety risks to humans, the center says.

What is a Wolf Hybrid?

As per information from the International Wolf Center in Minnesota,

A wolf dog hybrid is the offspring resulting from the mating of a domestic dog and a wolf. Courtesy: Pexels

"These two species are interfertile, meaning that they can interbreed and produce viable offspring," the Center stated on its website.

"In other words, wolves can breed with dogs, and their offspring can produce offspring themselves."

Giselle Narvaez Rivera, a wolf curator at the International Wolf Center, mentioned that they are frequently mistaken for wolfdogs, which are domestic dogs with an elevated level of wolf lineage.

She further noted that wolf-dog hybrids are significantly less prevalent in the United States compared to wolfdogs.

Is it Legal to Keep Wolf Hybrids as Pets?

In the United States, federal law categorizes wolf hybrids as domestic animals, thus rendering it legal to possess one as a pet. However, despite this legal status, there remains extensive debate regarding the suitability of wolf hybrids as household pets.

According to the International Wolf Center, some individuals have managed to successfully keep a wolf hybrid as a pet. However, the likelihood of keeping them as household pets diminishes as the wolf percentage in the animal increases.

Every year, thousands of these animals are abandoned in the US due to individuals acquiring an animal they aren't equipped to properly care for.

Ms Narvaez said owning a hybrid wolf-dog as a pet can be challenging because of their complex behaviour.

While it is legal to possess a wolf hybrid, the majority of US states have individual laws governing the breeding and ownership of these animals, which can differ by county. In certain states such as Illinois, Michigan, and New York, keeping a wolf hybrid as a pet is prohibited. In Alabama, while it is not illegal to own a wolf hybrid, there are regulations specifying how they should be kept and confined.

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