New Hampshire Has Too Many Wolf-Dogs

Are they domesticated pets or wild animals?

A wolf-dog (left) and a mastiff. Photo: SRDJAN ZIVULOVIC/Reuters/Corbis

A surplus of unwanted wolf-dogs—hybrids that are more domesticated than wild wolves but less tame than dogs—is overwhelming authorities in New Hampshire. It's technically illegal, New Hampshire Public Radio reports, to sell wolf-dogs in the state, but no one seems to be making sure that law is upheld. NHPR:

Basically, right now, they are treated like domestic dogs: they have to be licensed with local authorities. The Department of Agriculture has rules that require wolf-hybrid owners to neuter, vaccinate, and keep them in pens with tall fences.

But Ag says it has never enforced these rules, because it doesn’t have the resources to do so, and it should be up to Fish and Game. However, at a recent hearing over a proposed bill to switch the authority to that department, Fish and Game said it too has money problems.

It's still legal to import the animals from out of state, and that seems to be one of the reasons why so many wolf-dogs wind up in New Hampshire. But owners often abandon or hand over the large animals when their unpredictable nature proves too much to handle. Last year, a large sanctuary in New Hampshire closed due to money problems, and many wolf-dogs were euthanized or shuffled between shelters. A shelter in Chatham, which took in many of those wolf-dogs and currently houses 69 animals, is hoping to make things work by hiring war veterans, NHPR reports



Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.