Investigation into wolf-hybrid attack continues |

Investigation into wolf-hybrid attack continues

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The owner of a wolf-hybrid dog that attacked a girl on May 3 still could face charges.

Meanwhile, the court date for the dog’s caretaker who was charged, Lisa Ruoff, was pushed forward from June 8 to June 29.

Ruoff was charged with a vicious dog violation on the day of the attack because she was taking care of the dogs while their owner, Jim Wagner, was away on business.

Gracie McSwain, 7, of Glenwood Springs was bitten in the face while taking pictures of the dogs for a school project. They were in a fenced area in Wagner’s backyard, at 412 11th St., at the time.

Glenwood Springs city attorney Karl Hanlon said police are still investigating the incident and haven’t yet decided whether to charge Wagner.

“We still haven’t made a charging indication. Because we’re (still investigating), we continued it up to June 29,” Hanlon said of Ruoff’s hearing in Glenwood Springs municipal court.

Hanlon said Wagner is voluntarily allowing two of his dogs to remain at Colorado Animal Rescue in Spring Valley. Although only one dog bit Gracie, authorities took two of the wolf hybrids to CARE because they weren’t sure which dog bit her.

Hanlon said he’s also still looking into whether he can draft an ordinance that would effectively ban wolf-dogs.

The state legislature recently nixed bans on specific breeds of dogs, but Hanlon is exploring a law that could ban dogs that have no certified rabies vaccination.

“I think the real issue is, the dogs were vaccinated, but there is a question on whether it is effective on hybrids,” Hanlon said.

Hanlon said as far as he knows, no vaccination companies will guarantee their rabies vaccine’s effectiveness on wolf hybrids because they are biologically different than domestic dogs.

“I can’t do a breed-specific ban under state statute,” Hanlon said. “Before I fully change that, I want to be confident there is no vaccine that is certified.”

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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