Remember that "wolf-dog hybrid?" Well, the verdict is in

This is just a brief follow-up to that story from a couple of weeks ago about Capone, the dog who was arrested in Colorado on suspicion of being a wolf-dog hybrid. As you may recall, Capone got loose from his owner’s yard and was picked up by animal control. After a “visual inspection” by the animal control officer indicated that Capone might be part wolf, he was locked up for genetic testing. If he turned out to be a hybrid he would either be sent to an animal refuge (if space could be found) or he would be euthanized. Well.. the test results are in. (Washington Post)

Tracy Abbato, Capone’s owner, disputed that her dog was part wolf. She also denied he was a threat. “He’s not aggressive. Capone is a very mellow, laid back dog,” she said to Time magazine on March 16. “He’s a typical dog. He’s a family member. He doesn’t bother anybody.” Had Capone turned out to be part wolf, it was possible that animal control would have had him euthanized.

A DNA test later vindicated Abbato’s assertion that Capone was not a wolf. “The results came back negative,” she told Denver7. “Not an ounce of wolf.” On Wednesday, the Aurora Municipal Court cleared Capone to return home.

It marked the close of a nearly month-long separation. “It’s hard waking up and he’s not there,” Abbato said to CBS 4 on March 15. “It’s been heartbreaking. He’s our family member and we don’t have him here with us.”

So Capone is just a dog, not a wolf. “Not an ounce of wolf” in him, as the owner said. The sad thing is that all of this trouble could have been avoided. When I first wrote about this situation I asked if animal control couldn’t simply reach a compromise where the owner could pay a reasonable fine and agree to improve their fence so the dog couldn’t get loose again. Well, it looks like somebody with common sense showed up at last.

The Aurora Sentinel reported that Serrano pleaded guilty to three of five charges — failing to inoculate Capone against rabies, allowing him to roam free and not registering Capone with the city. After a hearing at the Aurora Municipal Court, Capone was able to return home as of Wednesday afternoon.

The dog will return home vaccinated. And, as part of the resolution, Capone’s owners have agreed to construct a taller fence around their property.

Seems reasonable. And the family absolutely already should have had their dog vaccinated, particularly if he spends any serious amount of time out in the yard. It’s not just the idea of him posing a threat to neighbors, but the fact that animals known to carry rabies can make their way into the yard as well. (We just discovered a skunk hanging out under my tool shed a couple of weeks ago.) I’m not always a fan of extra government regulations, but animal vaccination rules are in the interest of the community.

But for now, let’s celebrate at least one small bit of good news in an otherwise dreary news cycle. Welcome home, Capone. Now stay in your yard. Awww…. who’s a good boy?