Wolf or dog?

January 9, 2009 9:03:27 PM PST
In Voorhees, New Jersey, they are asking, is it a wolf or a dog or something in between?Tom Bonfiglio is on the watch tonight for what is described by animal control officials here as a wolf hybrid, an animal that is part wolf, part dog

In the field behind his home, a shadowy figure is seen lurking in the background. Officials say it's one of possibly two wolf hybrids seen in pictures that are believed to have escaped from a breeder of such animals in nearby Gibbsboro.

Residents here first noticed the animals a few months ago and animal control officials have been trying to capture them, so far with no luck.

"It displays no aggression, very gentle dog, doesn't want to interact with anybody, it's having a love affair with the neighbors black lab," Bonfiglio said.

So do people in Voorhees have anything to worry about with one or possibly two wolf hybrids on the loose?

We came to the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown and spoke with two experts on wolves and wolf-hybrids.

"More often than not, the animal is going to try to avoid human contact," William Konstant, CEO of Elmwood Park Zoo, said.

Officials say attacks on humans by such animals are rare, but still urge caution.

"As with any strange animal, any strange dog whether it's a wolf, a wolf hybrid, a German shepherd or Pekinese, it's not your dog, you don't know the dog, avoid it," general curator Dave Wood said.

Meanwhile officials in Voorhees say if they are unable to trap the animals, they will consider a tranquilizer dart to incapacitate the animals and take them to an animal preserve.

Click here to get the latest Philadelphia news and headlines from across the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.