Thursday, August 10, 2006

Florida couple face charges for possessing wolves

By Jill Taylor - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Wildlife officials seized four young wolves from a south Martin County home and charged the couple with illegally importing and possessing wild animals after experts concluded the pups appear to be nearly pure wolf stock. John and Sharon Mock of Ranch Colony, near the Palm Beach County line, insist that the 10- to 20-week-old animals are pets and they will work to earn permits they need to be allowed to keep them.

In the meantime, the three males and one female — they are named Saxon, Romeo, Sandy and Angel — will stay at the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter, where executive director David Hitzig said they are coping, but timid. "These are not friendly, wagging-their-tails, I-want-to-come-over-and-lick-your-face animals," Hitzig said.

The law states they have to be regulated because they are wild and potentially dangerous to people and other animals. People who have them must build extremely secure pens with high fences and double gates. These four animals were living in a bathroom with regular size dog crates, officials said.

Investigator John Humphreys of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said state law distinguishes between wolf-dog hybrids, which often are bred and sold as pets, and wild wolves, which are at least 75 percent wolf. "They tend to be far more aggressive that domestic dogs," Humphreys said Wednesday. "They have a lot of wild tendencies.... They are more curious and more likely to attempt to escape."

A Jacksonville man who bought wolves from the same Texas breeder as the Mocks told Humphreys his wolf bit his hand and broke a bone and bit his face, leaving a gash that required more than 30 stitches.

But Mock, 49, and his wife, Sharon, 47, said they have raised wolf mixed breeds before and consider them to be pets. Sharon Mock said they have owned several and still hope to win permission to raise these four on their 6-acre property on Ranch Acres Circle off Mack Dairy Road. "We're just trying to reestablish our family," she said.

Possessing and importing wolves are misdemeanors, and the Mocks also are charged with improperly confining them. A bag of marijuana found in last week's search of the house prompted a felony drug possession charge against John Mock.

Humphreys said it will be up to the state to decide whether the couple can get a license to keep the animals, but he hopes the allegations that they broke the law to bring them here will be considered.

Neighbor Alan Palmer said Mock has owned wolf dogs before and they didn't cause any problems other than late-night howling. "That bothered us a little," he said. "He's got the property fenced pretty well.... I'm not really concerned."

  • Palm Beach Post
  • 10 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    If a 75% wolf/dog bites or attacks a human, it's probobly the 25% that's dog responsible; Unless the animal is cornered with no escape route. wolves would rather stay away from humans. I feel that the same is true for any percent of wolf/dog.

    10/31/2006 9:38 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I agree. Wolf have a tendancy to be shy and run away rather than stay and fight. But if worse comes to worse they will fight. Just like any dog or human.

    2/12/2007 8:32 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I would like to know what the human did to the animal they dont bite without being pressed.. and they are not as agressive as dogs.. its the dog bred into them that makes any of them that way. the onlytime a wolf becomes agressive is hunting ,and defense.. thats it...other than rabies.. and human error.

    12/17/2007 1:37 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I agree with all three i own one and she is so sweet and timid.

    3/31/2008 12:08 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I have a wolf/dog too and he is awsome?(malamute/wolf i think).i got his at 3 months and its been a year and a half now. he is shy, likes to play and you know what i have not seen any agression to this date. (he likes to dig alot and he is super curious about every thing...love the attention of people), i take him to the park all the time and he get along with all the dogs.....i think its all on the ownwers and how the other dogs around him act .

    phurry

    11/20/2008 11:48 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    i have a 1 1/2 year wolfdog & we have a lrge fenced yard for himto run and play in but he also stays in the house & sleeps in our bedroom, he loves nuts & loves everyone....never owned a dog this sweet & smart...we have hand raised him since he was 4 weeks old & wants to be hand fed most of the time

    12/28/2008 7:09 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I agree, wolf dogs get such a bad wrap. I have had dogs my whole 40 yrs of life and now have a 8 yr old female and 3 yr old male wolf/dog. They are a mix of timber, artic, tundar and just a touch of german shepherd. I got them when the female was 8 wks and the male 5 wks "because the mother stopped feeding" They are the most loving animal I have ever had. The female is very shy has never let anyone one else touch her besides myself and my two boys the male is very curious, my gental giant and loves teenagers and other people. I would never alow them around little kids just because you have to be responsiable with having any animal. I wouldn't let a little kid around any dog that it wasn't raised around them and would still be cautious, some of the most unpredictable dogs I have seen have been small breads.
    My wolf dogs are very smart and protective they would give their life for us. Out of the 8 years that I have raised this type of animal there are only two people they did not like and for good reason. Like my son says they sense evil and that they do. They never bit but you could tell they did not like or trust them. When my mom was sick with cancer even though the female would never let her pet her, she would whine to see my mom everyday, she would lick her left leg for up to an hour a day. When my mom passed her left leg was swollen 5 times the nomal size. They are amazing animals, but not for the average person to raise.

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