Breeders Charged by MNRTb News Source
The Ministry of Natural Resources has laid charges against two Thunder Bay area commercial breeding operations that advertised the sale of hybrid wolves. Three people have been charged with eight counts of selling animals that were represented as a species of wildlife.
Earlier this winter, MNR Thunder Bay District Conservation Officers investigated two commercial operations advertising hybrid wolves for sale. The advertisements, which appeared in a newspaper and on two internet websites, indicated that the businesses had pure or hybrid wolves in captivity and hybrid wolf puppies for sale for $400 to $800 each. Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, it is illegal to keep wolves or wolf hybrids in captivity, to breed them or offer them for sale. It is also illegal to sell or offer for sale, any animal that is represented as a species of game wildlife. This is to prevent breeders from selling 'look-alike' animals, which could promote and maintain a black market for true wildlife or hybrids.
On January 30 and February 1 and 2, the officers executed search warrants at two locations and a total of 10 animals, four adults and six puppies, were seized. The animals were housed at the local Humane Society and Thunder Bay Animal Services facilities while DNA and both physical and behavioural characteristic analyses were conducted. Lakehead University's Ancient Paleo DNA Laboratory and experts from the Royal Ontario Museum both reported that there was no conclusive evidence to prove that any of the animals had wolf ancestry.
MNR Thunder Bay District Manager Bill Baker said that the ministry had a responsibility to seize and hold the animals until it was determined if the animals had wolf in them. 'MNR is the lead agency in the province for conservation; we are concerned with preserving the genetic integrity of the wild wolf in Ontario,' said Baker. 'It's illegal for people to keep wolves or wolf-hybrids in captivity and use them to breed hybrid animals for profit. Although the DNA analysis could not confirm any wolf ancestry in these animals, they were still being advertised and sold as if they did.'
Wolf-hybrids often exhibit behavioural traits which has led many jurisdictions to make it illegal to possess them. Hybrids have shown predatory behaviour towards children and can be highly territorial. They have been known to attack and kill neighbouring dogs or animals. Barriers that would keep a dog secure are often ineffective to contain hybrid wolves and owners can have problems maintaining dominance over these animals.
The 10 animals will be returned to their owners.