Wolf-dog hybrid ban bill awaits signature

Owners of wolf-dog hybrids may have reason to worry in the near future, as the General Assembly approved a bill authorizing any locality to prohibit the keeping of hybrid canines.

By Jessi Gower | Capital News Service

Owners of wolf-dog hybrids may have reason to worry in the near future, as both the Senate and the House have approved [Senate Bill 444][sb44] authorizing any locality to prohibit, by ordinance, the keeping of hybrid canines.

Sen. Thomas Norment Jr., R-Williamsburg, proposed the bill because of an incident that occurred last year in his district.

“A dog-wolf hybrid broke out of its backyard and killed the neighbor’s household pet” said Jeff Ryer, press secretary for the Senate Republican Caucus. “The responding officer had to shoot the canine on site, and it was big news.”

These aggressive tendencies worry Norment and supporters of the bill.

Along with the situation in Norment’s district, there have been several other incidents involving dog-wolf hybrids in Virginia over the past few years. Despite these incidents, owners of hybrid canines think the General Assembly should consider the animals that aren’t aggressive or involved in such attacks before passing this bill.

“My housemate had a half-husky, half-wolf dog,” said Courtney Pain, a former VCU student. “He was so sweet and was even afraid of my beagle. Because he was a big dog, some people were scared of him, but all he’d ever do is lick them, which changed their opinion.”

If the governor signs the bill, hybrid owners such as Pain’s housemate could have some difficult decisions to make if their localities decide to pass the ordinances prohibiting the keeping of dog-wolf hybrids. Ryer says if owners are caught breaking such an ordinance, there will be legal consequences.

“I think they (authorities) send them (owners) to a class for that type of misdemeanor,” Ryer said, “but the penalty for a situation like that would vary from locality to locality.”

SB 444 now awaits a signature from Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Photo by: erasergirl

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