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Family’s Senior Dog Faces Euthanasia as Animal Control Says He’s a Wolf-Hybrid

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Animal Control officials in Aurora, Colorado last month seized a senior dog and are refusing to return him to the family that loves and misses him because, they say, he looks like a wolf-hybrid.

The Abbato family adopted Capone from the Adams County Animal Shelter nearly 10 years ago where he was listed as a German Shepherd mix. For almost a decade, Capone has been a member of the family, sleeping in the family home, playing with his canine brothers, and living a wonderful life with the only family he’s ever known.

Last month, Capone escaped his backyard. “He jumped the fence. It’s the first time in the seven years we’ve lived here,” Capone’s owner, Tracy Abbato told FOX31.

Aurora Animal Control picked up Capone on the day he escaped. But, when the Abbato’s came to collect him from the shelter, they were turned away.

“They say he is a hybrid-wolf now and don’t want to release (him) back to us because he is an exotic animal,” Abbato said. Animal Control says that based on his appearance, mannerisms, and behavior, they suspect his is part wolf. With studies showing that nearly 75% of dogs in shelters are mis-categorized or labeled the wrong breed by shelter staff, the Abbatos are confident that Capone is not a wolf.

Although the Abbato’s veterinarian confirms Capone is a shepherd mix, Animal Control submitted a DNA test on March 1 to determine his actual genetic breed make up. If the DNA shows that he’s a wolf-hybrid, despite living safely in a loving home for a decade, he could face euthanasia if a nearby wolf sanctuary cannot provide space for him.

While they wait for DNA results to come back, Capone is forced to wait in the shelter, away from his family.

“I don’t understand. This dog has a loving, caring home. People who abuse dogs, leave them outside in 2-degree weather, how do they still have their dogs?” Abbato asked.

The Abbato family, who now face criminal charges of an animal running at large, keeping an aggressive animal, and keeping an exotic/wild animal, have hired an attorney.

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  1. Avatar Of Jacy



    It seems to me the shoe is actually on the other foot!! This shelter are the ones causing pain, distress, separation anxiety, neglect, stress, etc etc etc to an animal regardless is that not the epitome of ANIMAL CRUELTY…..who is the culprit here?

  2. Avatar Of Diane



    This is complete Insanity! His loving family wants him back! Give this dog back to his rightful owners!

  3. Avatar Of Pat Minogue

    Pat Minogue


    This is a Belgian Sheepdog for heaven's sake!

  4. Avatar Of Shelly



    Totally unreal, a dog jumps a fence and all of a sudden it is a wolf hybrid. Where were all the experts 10 years ago when these poor people adopted the dog. Return him to his family this makes me sick. I cant even imagine how upset Capone is right now.

  5. Avatar Of Randi



    I'd go to the shelter and just take him by force. Screw the animal shelter. They'd keep my pet over my dead body.

  6. Avatar Of Alison



    What a lot of BS , for goodness sake do the right thing and give the beautiful dog back to his family where he belongs. How dare you just assume just on looks . This dog has done wrong except jump the fence . Big deal. Has he hurt anyone ? No has he hurt you ? No . So give him back he must be feeling lost and wondering where his family is , as well as his family missing him terribly . I'm sure you could do better things than this as there are plenty of cruel people out their that are mistreating their pets. So why don't you go and focus on them and give this beauty back to his loving family where he belongs.

  7. Avatar Of Deb Speelman

    Deb Speelman


    Government out of control!

  8. Avatar Of Andrea Ney Andrea ney says:

    This is ridiculous!!!! The shelter should go after the that don't treat they animals right ….
    Is so crazy this shelter want to kill a pet that was treat with love ❤️ for 10 years !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And is clear s not aggressive at all !!!!!!!!!! Wow .
    Really ????!?!???!!!????

  9. Wolf hybrid or not Capone has done nothing wrong. He jumped a fence… Big deal.The big deal is why are these animal control authorities not doing something about the dogs in the 2 degree weather or abandoned & abused. Seriously this is how Aurora officials run their city. I am so glad I do not spend a pee y of my money in this town or the state of Colorado. Get real ppl give the dog back leave those ppl alone & get to handling serious situations. Stop being lazy or afraid to do it job..If the ppl In charge are accepting this type of actions they need to be replaced immediately!!!!

  10. Avatar Of Sandy



    Bullshit. Even if it was a small part wolf, it is their beloved pet whom they have cared for 10 years. Why sacrifice the innocent animal? Return him to his family!!!!!!!May the angels protect the dog and his family and mo harm comes to them.

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