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Wolves shot near Troy not wild, but pets

July 21, 2022

By Mike Weland

Two wolves shot after getting into a goat pen at a home in the Kootenai Vista area near Troy July 10 weren't wild, but pets, wolf hybrids owned by a Troy woman living in her car with an alleged propensity of dropping them off with people who couldn't care for them any better than she could. The story, first published in the Libby Western News, went national, even picked up by the magazine "Outdoor Life," and prompted many to call for expanding wolf hunts in the region.

Lab results to confirm are pending, but it appears all but certain that the wolves were hybrids.

"On July 10, FWP received a report from a landowner indicating he shot and killed two wolves on his property near Troy," Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 1 Communications and Education Program Manager Dillon Tabish wrote. "The landowner reported observing the wolves entering a fenced barn area and attacking his domestic goats. FWP game wardens investigated and collected the two carcasses. FWP later received information of a local resident who was keeping wolf-dog hybrids in close proximity to where the reported wolves had been shot."

Wolf-dog hybrids are produced by crossing wolves with wolf-like dog breeds such as Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute.

"An FWP game warden contacted the owner of the wolf-dog hybrids and confirmed the animals had been missing since July 9," he continued. "The property owner where the wolf hybrids were kept felt confident after looking at photos that the two reported wolves shot were actually the wolf-dog hybrids. Hair samples that were collected from the animals will be tested to confirm whether they were wolf-dog hybrids."

He confirmed that the property owner who shot the dogs, whose name was not released at his request, was within his rights to shoot them, saying it is lawful for owners of livestock to kill dogs or wolves that are harming their livestock.

Responding to the Libby Western News Facebook post on the article, Elizabeth Williams, Troy, wrote that their owner had dropped the hybrids off with her for two weeks earlier this year, but after two weeks, unable to care for them, she took them to Tobacco Valley Animal Shelter in Libby.

"They gave them back to her," she wrote, "and once again she abandoned them at a friend's place. Where they got loose and attacked this family's livestock. The owner was always abandoning them to random people to care for them."

This story has been corrected. The initial report said Dillon Tabish confirmed that these were wolf hybrids, but confirmation is pending lab results. I regret the error. ~ Mike Weland

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