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Genetic tests show North Stonington dogs are not wolf hybrids

By Judy Benson

Publication: theday.com

Published April 24. 2014 3:56PM   Updated April 25. 2014 12:05AM
State says it will take no further action

North Stonington — Results of genetic tests on seven canines owned by Ashbow Sebastian showed none are illegal wolf-dog hybrids, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced Thursday.

The tests were done last month after DEEP was alerted to a possible wolf-dog hybrid in the area by a local resident. The man reported that he had shot a canine on his property after it and two other canines surrounded him while he was outside near his horse barn, and a neighbor trained in animal science collected tissue samples. Those samples were sent to the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, and test results showed the animal was a wolf-dog hybrid. Other residents of the Long Pond area on the Ledyard-North Stonington border also reported recent encounters with roaming and threatening dogs in the area.

In response, DEEP Environmental Conservation officers launched an investigation, and Sebastian cooperated with their request to conduct DNA tests on his animals, which he said are white German shepherds. DEEP sent saliva samples from Sebastian’s dogs to the same California lab March 31.

DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain said no further action will be taken by the agency.

“Possibly there was an animal that was a wolf-hybrid in the area,” Schain said.

Susan Whalen, DEEP’s deputy commissioner for environmental conservation, said state and local animal control officials have been notified about the results.

“They now have jurisdiction over any future issues with these animals, including licensing, vaccinations and roaming,” she said.

The local resident who encountered the animal shown to be a wolf-dog hybrid said there have been no incidents with roaming canines in the area since DEEP began its investigation. The man asked not to be identified.

“I’m relieved the situation was taken seriously,” he said. “If it starts happening again, I’ll let the state know what’s going on.”


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