Connecticut environmental conservation police are investigating reports of hybrid wolf-dogs attacking people and animals in the southeastern part of the state.
Residents reported the possible presence of wolf-dogs around Long Pond in North Stonington and Ledyard. The animals reportedly have bitten a bicyclist, threatened another person and attacked at least two horses, The Day of New London reported. One animal killed by a man last month has been confirmed to be a wolf-dog hybrid.
The person who was threatened said three large, white canines without collars surrounded him outside his horse barn last month and he called his neighbor, who brought a shotgun. The man, whom the newspaper did not identify, then shot and killed the animal.
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The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, tested samples of the dead animal and determined it was a wolf-dog hybrid.
The man who shot the dog said he saw three white canines again at the bottom of his driveway last Saturday.
Rick Jacobson, director of the DEEP's wildlife division, said wolf-dog hybrids are dangerous and illegal to own in Connecticut.
The possible hybrids have been seen in an area near a state boat launch and the Eastern Pequot Reservation on Long Pond, not far from popular hiking areas. Environmental conservation police have the authority to seize the hybrids.
"This seems to raise issues of concern, and of course timeliness is important," DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain said. "The EnCon officers will take any appropriate actions."
Animal experts say wolf-dogs are dangerous for several reasons. Most notably, they lack the natural fear of humans that wolves possess and cannot be vaccinated against rabies.
There are about 250,000 wolf-dog hybrids in the U.S., said Kent Weber, founder and director of Mission Wolf, a rescue group in Colorado.