On Thursday, members of the Colorado Legislature asked the Aurora Animal Services to turn over records of a family’s German shepherd dog suspected to be a wolf-hybrid and to stave off any plans to euthanize the dog named Capone. State Senator Tim Neville and state Representatives Steve Lebsock, Jovan Melton, and Joann Ginal sent a letter to the shelter expressing their concerns about the impoundment of Tracy Abbato’s dog, taken into custody on February 24, after he was found roaming the neighborhood without a collar.
According to the Colorado Statesman, the lawmakers stated they have been contacted by many concerned constituents about Capone’s future, which has prompted them to submit a Colorado Opens Records Act request to the city for “all correspondence regarding Capone and his owners.”
“We do not want the pet euthanized until we have a chance to review all the facts in this investigation,” the letter stated. “Can we really determine based on DNA if this is a wolf-dog hybrid?, Representative Melton asked. “This dog has never demonstrated any violent behavior, plays well with the family’s other dog, plays well with their kids. I understand public safety, but we should be looking at the whole picture.”
“There’s a question about fairness vs. public safety,” Melton added. “We should look at this on a case-by-case basis.”
Capone’s plight has drawn national attention, as advocates continue to insist that the 11-year-old-dog belongs back with his family. Tracy Abbato, the owner of eleven-year-old Capone, rescued the dog from the Adams County Animal Shelter a decade ago, where he was classified as a German shepherd mix; Capone’s veterinarian agrees with his breed description. And according to animal expert Suzanne Hetts, a certified animal behaviorist and president of Littleton’s Animal Behavior Associates, there is no way to tell whether an animal is a dog or a wolf-hybrid based on behavior – which was the reason animal control officers gave as their reason to keep Capone when he was impounded.
The family’s attorney states Aurora’s ordinance does not specify what constitutes a hybrid, although the State of Colorado specifies an animal is regarded as domestic if it contains just a trace of non-wild ancestry. Meanwhile, Capone remains at the shelter, and the family is only allowed to visit just a few minutes daily with their dog. An Aurora judge continued a hearing for a week until March 22 to allow the family’s attorney to review the case. Tracy is facing five charges which includes; owning a wild, exotic or dangerous animal, letting an animal run at large, failure to obtain a pet license, owning an aggressive or dangerous animal and failing to have a current rabies vaccination.
Read the previous article about Capone here.
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