Official seeks investigation into banning wolf hybrids
By Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Wolf-hybrid dogs soon could be canines non grata in Glenwood Springs.
On Thursday, City Councilman Dan Richardson asked city attorney Karl Hanlon to look at whether wolf hybrids could be banned from the city.
His request came in response to the wolf-hybrid dog attack on 7-year-old Gracie McSwain, which happened Monday evening in the dog’s yard. McSwain is Richardson’s niece.
Richardson said he’s been doing some research on the hybrids since McSwain was bitten. Richardson said he discovered there is no approved rabies vaccination for wolf dogs.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, he’s right.
“There are no rabies vaccines licensed for use in hybrids,” the department’s Rabies Prevention and Control Policy states.
A standard post-bite rabies observation period has never been established, the policy states, so there’s no assurance the vaccine works. As a result, companies that produce the vaccine won’t guarantee it works in wolves and wolf hybrids, although the state health agency considers it likely to work.
“While there is no evidence of efficacy, given the biologic similarities between wolves, coyotes and domestic dogs, it is very probable that vaccination will result in antibody response,” the department’s policy states.
Despite this probability, even if a wolf or wolf-hybrid dog is given a rabies vaccination shot, it is still officially considered nonvaccinated.
State health department epidemiologist John Pape said his department recommends that any wolf hybrid that bites a person should either be euthanized and tested for rabies, or given “an extended bite-observation period” of 30 days.
A domestic dog is normally given a 10-day observation period.
Meanwhile, Richardson called for requiring animal vaccinations within the city limits.
He also asked council to look into drafting a letter that backs the efforts of the Denver City Council’s challenge to the new state law prohibiting local governments from banning specific-breeds of dogs.
The state legislation, signed into law in April, is set to take effect July 1.
No formal action was taken on either request.
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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