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Efforts underway to humanely trap wolf-dog hybrid loose near Parksville

Animal control assessing potential trap locations on private land
A wolf-dog hybrid is on the loose outside of Parksville. (Photo courtesy Vaughan Roberts)

Efforts are underway to humanely trap a wolf-dog hybrid that has been on the loose since late August in a rural area outside of Parksville.

B.C. Conservation Service has indicated the animal is outside its jurisdiction, so it’s up to local animal control and community members to find a solution.

Coastal Animal Control Services of B.C. (CACS), contracted by the Regional District of Nanaimo, says it’s looking for a suitable location to place a trap, which will need to be on private land.

The animal, reportedly released by an owner, has been sighted in areas such as the Virginia Estates subdivision, Springhill Road and nearby forested Crown land.

Colleen Rowe lives in the area and has 15 years of experience rescuing and fostering wolf-dogs.

“I’ve been trying to humanely catch it for about five weeks,” said Rowe, who used to do work for the Yamnuska Animal Sanctuary in Cochrane, Alta.

She has been monitoring a trail camera focused on a trap and said the wolf-dog has been showing “increasing interest” in the protein sources inside the trap.

“This animal is incredibly wary of humans and he’s not starving. There are lots of rabbits and mice in the area,” she said. “So we’re thinking a humane trap is our best bet because there’s no way you could walk up and leash him.”

Rowe spotted the animal once while out walking her dog from about 30 feet away. The wolf-dog saw them and left the area.

Resident Vaughan Roberts has encountered the large animal twice and said it behaved aggressively. At one point he had to throw rocks at it when it chased his dogs.

RDN Area F representative Leanne Salter is concerned for the safety of residents and hopes the animal can be trapped humanely and relocated to a sanctuary.

READ MORE: ‘Aggressive’ wolf-dog hybrid reported on the loose outside of Parksville

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“He has to come off the trail. I am really concerned about, especially small kids going to school, or on bikes,” she said. “Because apparently it’s been tracking people.”

She added she is glad CACS intends to trap the animal, and recalled when two serval cats got loose in the Corcan-Meadowood area last year and killed a domestic cat and several ducks before being recovered.

Salter brought a resolution to ban exotic pets, such as wolf-dog hybrids, to the recent Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) conference, which passed. It will take some time for the resolution to make its way through different levels of government.

“I know that doesn’t help today, but going forward it could be helpful,” Salter said.

Rowe said it will take time for the wolf-dog to get comfortable with the new trap placed by FLED (Find Lost and Escaped Dogs), after the original trap from AARF (Arrowsmith Animal Resource Foundation) was damaged by a bear.

One option, if the animal is caught, is to place it in a sanctuary such as Yamnuska, but it would first need to be checked over for injuries, possibly neutered if not already and assessed based on its temperament.

“You have to integrate them with the existing animals, that’s the key. You can’t just throw three wolf dogs together,” she said.

Rowe has helped people re-home wolf-dogs in the past, in situations like a divorce or when renters are no longer allowed to keep them. She said this is the first time she has dealt with one being released into the wild.

“The main reason I don’t want people breeding them, is people get them and then their life circumstances change or they find that they’re not equipped to house the wolf dog,” she said. “They think it’s more like just having a dog.”

She asks the community to be careful and keep dogs on a leash in the area, and to allow time for the wolf-dog to habituate to the new trap so it can be caught humanely. Signs are now up in the area advising people to be careful.

Sightings of the wolf-dog can be reported to FLED at or 250-479-0911.

Kevin Forsyth

About the Author: Kevin Forsyth

As a lifelong learner, I enjoy experiencing new cultures and traveled around the world before making Vancouver Island my home.
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