March 22, 2002 Dear Veterinarians and Animal Control Officers:
As you may be aware, the Alaska Board of Game recently adopted regulations that could affect your clients who own pet wolves or wolf hybrids. While you do not have any specific new enforcement responsibilities, we appreciate whatever assistance you can provide in informing your clients of the changes.
The Board made it illegal to advertise for sale a wolf hybrid or any animal represented to be a wolf or part wolf by any name or description. Possession of wolves or wolf hybrids without a permit has been illegal for many years, as has been the sale of such animals. The ban on advertising is new.
Because we lack a simple genetic test to distinguish these animals, and conflicting local government ordinances, the prohibition has been defied and enforcement has been spotty at best.
Recognizing that many people already own hybrids and may not have been aware of the prohibition, the Board decided to "grandfather in" people who owned such animals as pets prior to Jan. 23, 2002.
In order for those owners to legally retain those animals, they must do the following:
- Have the animals registered with a national registry by implantation of a microchip by July 1, 2002;
- Have the animals spayed or neutered by July 1, 2002;
- Keep accurate licensing, vaccination and neutering records and make them available for inspection by animal control and other enforcement officers;
- Understand that if the animals bite anyone, the animals must immediately be surrendered to local authorities for any treatment deemed appropriate by the authorities;
- Not accept transfer of ownership of such animals outside the immediate family of the person who owned the animals prior to Jan. 23, 2002.
We understand that the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services plans to develop a consent form to have hybrid owners sign when they bring their animals in for rabies vaccinations. The form will explain that state and local governments will treat their animals as wild canids if they bite anyone.
This whole exercise obviously is a new endeavor for all of us. We will try to be as flexible and reasonable as possible while at the same time pursuing the eventual goal of ending the breeding, sale and ownership of wolf hybrids. If we can be of assistance to you in the implementation of this new regulation, please don't hesitate to contact your local ADF&G office.
Matthew H. Robus
State of Alaska
Division of Wildlife Conservation