wolfhybridnjBy Stephen J. Novak for the Hunterdon County Democrat

Holland Township, NJ police captured and returned the last of five wolf-dogs to their Spring Garden Road home Sunday morning, nearly three days after they escaped.

Despite rumors, the hybrid canines did not chase humans, police said, but their second escape in three years is expected to generate discussion at Tuesday’s township committee meeting, according to officials.

An ordinance relating to the situation may be introduced, multiple officials said, though it is not yet clear what new law may be proposed.

An exotic animal ban under consideration in Bangor would also forbid wolf-dogs as pets. In addition to lions, bears, alligators and dozens of other potentially dangerous animals, the Bangor ordinance would forbid any canine that is not a “commonly domesticated dog.”

The wolf-dogs’ owner, Cliff Zager, today said he understands his neighbors’ concerns and wants to find ways to be a better neighbor. “People grew up with ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ and the word wolf can be scary,” he said.

Zager, a four-year Holland Township resident, said he will consider installing a second fence in addition to the one already there, or even moving, if he can afford either one. He said he will not consider giving up any of the 14 wolf-dogs he has raised since they were puppies.

Some of the dogs escaped about a year and a half ago, when a storm brought a tree down on the fence, police said. Thursday’s incident started when workers clearing brush on an adjacent property accidentally tore the bottom of the fence, allowing the dogs to squeeze through, police said.

Police employed the use of traps to catch the dogs. Police Chief David W. Van Gilson described the dogs as “skittish” and shy of humans.

Residents in the area of Spring Garden Road were kept abreast of the situation via a telephone community alert network and updates to the police Web site.