Update on Aurora Animal Control holding family dog claiming to be ‘wolf-hybrid’

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In Aurora, Colorado, the family of a black German shepherd named Capone, rescued nearly a decade ago, is being held captive by Aurora Animal Control as they claim the dog is a wolf-hybrid. In the city of Aurora, it is illegal to own any wild animal hybrid, although Colorado law states as long as a dog is at least 1% domesticated, it’s legal. Aurora’s local law, however overrides the state law.

Tracy Abbato, the owner of ten-year-old Capone, rescued the dog from the Adams County Animal Shelter where he was classified as a German shepherd mix. The family’s veterinarian also agrees, but someone at the Aurora Animal Control insists the dog is a wolf-hybrid. On February 24, Capone jumped the fence in the family’s yard – the first time in seven years since the family lived in the neighborhood. That day Aurora Animal Control picked Capone up, and when his family went to the shelter to claim in, they were refused.

According to Channel 9News,when Tracy asked Animal Control to be more specific as to why they think Capone is a wolf-hybrid, the explanation was vague at the least:

“They said he has characteristics of a wolf,” Abbato said, “I asked what those characteristics were. They didn’t give me any explanation other than he was aggressive.”

Michael Bryant, associated with the Aurora Animal Shelter, said officers think the dog could be a hybrid based on “experience and behavior” but did not go into the details of the case because it’s under investigation. The DNA test results are expected to take two weeks. Meanwhile, the family’s young children are taking the separation very hard – Capone used to sleep with them at night. The family faces charges of having an aggressive animal and for the dog running at large. Maybe the dog was frightened when caught by Animal Control? It all seems rather peculiar for Capone to be characterized as “aggressive” when he has been with the same family for ten years and sleeps with 11-year-old Ciara Abbato every night.

Just putting all of this into perspective, a family who cares and loves their dog has to spend time and money fighting to get their dog back based on an opinion, while animal cruelty and neglect run rampant in this country?

The family is expected to appear in court on Wednesday to answer to the charges.

(Photo of Capone held by Aurora Animal Control submitted by family)

Read previous story here.




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  1. Keeping this family in our prayers, this is totally absurd. There is a good chance there will be some “wolf” in the DNA test. After all most dog’s ancestors are “wolves”. I’m sure if this dog has been aggressive it’s because he is 10 years old, been picked up by some not so very nice people and is scared silly in a kennel at the shelter. The Animal Control is being ridiculous about this. I truly hope this turns out ok.

  2. As a Neighboring State Resident of Colorado I have always thought that The State as a Whole is pretty Dog / Rescue Friendly :: However this incident proves That Someone With A Burr up Their Butt , in the Aurora Animal Shelter is SEEKING ATTENTION IN a VERY NEGATIVE FASHION.. HOLY COW THESE PEOPLE HAVE HAD ANCARED FOR THEIR “DOG” for over !O YEAR>>> LET IT be the Governor of the STATE of COLORADO is not got to award you a GOLD METAL for this….

  3. An aggressive dog does not sit still, let alone contentedly, for a photo with the family cat cuddled against him. Especially, a high prey drive animal like a wolf. Keeping this family and their GSD in our thoughts and prayers. So sorry for what they are dealing with. What a miscarriage of justice and waste of resources…

  4. And yet people who abuse dogs, overbreed dogs, fight dogs are allowed to continue to do so because our officials that are so full of wisdom and righteousness…..always seeking to protect the common good.

  5. Beside being ridiculous by Aurora animal control, why in the hell after 11 years later this poor dog breed now being question?? Just because they” think” he is aggressive! That is bull shit. That is the problem with most of these dogs animal control, they don’t know nothing about dogs, of course the dog is going to be aggressive, he was been captured by strangers some, whom I am sure we’re not very nice. Sending prayers for this dog to be returned to his family. I would sue the hell to the Aurora animal control.

  6. This makes no sense whatsoever…..they turn a blind eye when dogs are chained up outside in the elements, no food or water, in the worst shape ever, and do NOTHING. Then, here we have a FAMILY PET that has been well cared for – for 10 years – and adopted from a shelter – and they are pulling this BS. SHAMEFUL…

  7. So stupid ????how can they do this? My dog is agressive with some people as well ,,maybee they feel something is wrong with that person.who no how the animal control catch him? They may hurt him and that s why became agressive . Wish the family get him back safe he is a family member.good luck ????????

  8. This is a waste of time and money! To make the family go thru this is a waste of time! Undue stress on Capone who has been with the family for 10 years and is a beloved pet! All dogs have characteristics of wolves! They are all decented from them! To hold Capone hostage on that criteria is beyond ludicris! Time to let Capone go home!

  9. I would be telling them to do a DNA – this is completely stupid – AND any dog is going to be aggressive if they are out of their own environment. These people have absolutely no idea of what they are doing – usual bs. Dumb.

  10. He is a GSD.For Christ sake leave these people alone to enjoy their dog! A wolf hybrid would not take kindly to a pic being taken!!!!Lay off!!!!!!?

    • Absolutely heartbreaking and so so wrong, you can clearly see this beautiful boy is a GSD the people concerned have no idea what they are talking about, they should not be in the position to make these decisions. Sending love & prayers to the family from the uk hoping that justice prevails xxx.

  11. Are there not enough strays for then to pick up? They have to steal a family pet and hold onto it? You got it because for the first time in 7 years, it got out of it’s families fence. You did not pick him up because he was a stray or aggressive. Stop being total jerks, there are enough homeless pets without you KEEPING A FAMILY PET FOR IDIOTIC REASONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. The animal control officers should be out looking to charge animal abusers and stop zeroing in on Capone and his family.

  13. This is bull crap these people are getting ! GIVE THEM BACK THEIR DOG !!! Folks, start a go fund me page for an animal rights lawyer ! Their are thousands of animal lovers out there that will donate and help pay for them. Including me. Don’t give up. Right is Right.

  14. This is turning into a “witch hunt”. The animal control is in the wrong in my book. GIVE THEM THEIR DOG BACK! Power nazi’s.

  15. He looks like my purebred GSD. Thats what black German Shepherds look like. GSD’s are also known for being a confident breed and can be very protective at times to the point of exhibiting aggressiveness towards strangers. Why do you think they use them as police and military dogs. By what criteria is the person’s expertise being judged, who has made this ridiculous decision? They should lose their job for making such a poor judgement call.

  16. This whole thing sucks – Capone belongs with his family – Aurora Animal Control is only trying to cover their ass – IF Capone became aggressive while so called ‘officers’ were attempting to capture him – maybe the REAL problem is with the aggressiveness of the humans – the dog was most likely scared. Maybe Aurora Animal Control needs some more humane training methods. Capone needs to be home w/his family.

  17. Death wish for the ignorant bastards at animal control.How dare you uneducated,low IQ morons steal a families much loved canine.The mismanagement of this matter/abuse of this lovely dog is being broadcast globally.Staff at this facility must have their employment terminated immediately!

  18. Shame on you Aurora Humane Societ for holding this dog/wolf hybrid, let this poor dog go home. My sister had a Samoyed/wolf hybrid and he was the gentlest animal I’ve ever known. What kind of tunnel vision do these workers at this shelter have? seems very narrow minded to me.

  19. I have a dream
    that one day
    my little dogs friends in this perdiciment
    Will be judged on the content of their charater
    and not
    on the doubious DNA , of a far passed on ancestor.

  20. This shelter should be shut fown. The purpose of a shelter is to rescue and care for animals. Give this dog back to his family. The kids sleep with him every night. They must be devastated. How dare you think you have right to kidnap this family member. Give that dog back immediately. I hope the good people of aurora shut this place down.


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