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Holland Twp, NJ Neighbors Demand Action After Wolf-Hybrid Dogs Escape Again

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.

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Donna R.
Donna R.
13 years ago

Since both incidents of escape were not due to the owner's negligence, I hope the authorities will work with him to allay the fears of the townspeople. It's not right for animals to suffer persecution because of irrational fears. There is no mention of these dogs causing any problems while they were loose, and I would venture to say that they were probably in more danger than any humans were. However, I do not approve of people cross-breeding dogs with wolves, and agree that only domesticated dogs should be kept as pets. I also do not believe that the hybrids that now exist should be destroyed, but rather housed safely where they can live out their lives with the care and attention they deserve. Their owner seems to be doing that and should be commended.

lwb
lwb
12 years ago

Donna,

Although it's never mentioned in the reports, his wolves have repeated gotten into my fenced-in back yard, and last week four of them worked as a pack, cornered and RIPPED our family cat into MULTIPLE CHUNKS. Neighbors saw it happen, and the dogs paraded the parts throughout the neighborhood.

He has repeatedly allowed his wolf pack and pit bulls to run rampant in my yard, on my back porch, and throughout the township. There have been thousands of recorded maulings from wolf-dog hybrids in the past; just google it, youtube it, whatever. So our fears are real, not “irrational”. And even if our fears are irrational, I'm allowed to have them, aren't I? Tell the “irrational” fear thing to my 9 year-old, my 3-year old, or my dead cat.

Rob Levinson
12 years ago

lwb, while I am sorry for your loss, that does not call for this kind of activity. You aren't describing behavior different from any dog. Dogs are prey animals and chase smaller animals that run away, and will work together to do so.

If your neighbor's pets are getting out and causing damage, THAT is the issue, for which there is already legislation. New legislation is the knee-jerk reaction that wastes time and taxpayer money.

As for being “allowed” to have your fears, of course you are. Small children scare me, may I pursue legislation that makes you keep them quiet instead of running around the neighborhood and making loud noises? Or is public disturbance already on the books… yep, it is. My fear doesn't suggest that you get rid of your kids, only that you make reasonable attempts to control them.

Also, your hyperbole about “thousands of recorded maulings”… you can't back that up. A quote from http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/newsletters/v5n4/5… :

“When CDCP statistics on canine attacks are used to compare hybrid attacks to those committed by various breeds of dogs, hybrids appear to be no more dangerous than some of the more aggressive dog breeds. But, these statistics may be misleading since they only list the number of attacks by breed without taking into account breed population figures or circumstances surrounding the attacks. “

Rob Levinson
12 years ago

lwb, while I am sorry for your loss, that does not call for this kind of activity. You aren't describing behavior different from any dog. Dogs are prey animals and chase smaller animals that run away, and will work together to do so.

If your neighbor's pets are getting out and causing damage, THAT is the issue, for which there is already legislation. New legislation is the knee-jerk reaction that wastes time and taxpayer money.

As for being “allowed” to have your fears, of course you are. Small children scare me, may I pursue legislation that makes you keep them quiet instead of running around the neighborhood and making loud noises? Or is public disturbance already on the books… yep, it is. My fear doesn't suggest that you get rid of your kids, only that you make reasonable attempts to control them.

Also, your hyperbole about “thousands of recorded maulings”… you can't back that up. A quote from http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/newsletters/v5n4/5… :

“When CDCP statistics on canine attacks are used to compare hybrid attacks to those committed by various breeds of dogs, hybrids appear to be no more dangerous than some of the more aggressive dog breeds. But, these statistics may be misleading since they only list the number of attacks by breed without taking into account breed population figures or circumstances surrounding the attacks. “

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