Are Wolf Hybrids Legal in Florida?
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers | Florida Law
Although canines are “man’s best friend,” over 200 breeds of dog are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) alone. As such, there are many different “friends” that a pet owner has to choose from or may already have. However, one breed of dog that the AKC does not officially recognize, despite its popularity with some individuals, is the wolf hybrid.
The University of California estimates that as many as 300,000 dogs living in the United States could be wolf hybrids. This is a general category of canine that encompasses any dog with a genetic makeup consisting of a combination of a wild wolf species and a domesticated dog breed.
That unique combination appeals to some individuals, as they appreciate the wolf’s wild and mysterious looks but enjoy the dogs’ more tame and docile nature compared to their pureblood relatives.
Wolf Hybrids As Pets
Every animal is different, and wolf hybrids are no exception. Some are raised around humans and are not dangerous to their masters, but there are also others that retain many of their wild characteristics. As a result, these animals are dangerous and should not be handled or kept except by individuals who are appropriately trained and equipped to handle them.
In general, wolf hybrids do not make good pets for most families. Their hunting instinct remains, and they will, therefore, give chase to smaller animals in the house. If you have cats or small dogs, a wolf hybrid can easily treat them like prey. Even a small infant or toddler can be attacked by a wolf hybrid who views the child as a food source over a family member.
In addition, wolf hybrids are territorial and may get into fights with larger animals. They generally do not do well with small cages, and they can easily escape from an enclosure that is not specifically designed to hold them. If they do roam, they may view other animals in the house or in the neighborhood as a threat to their territory, leading to unpredictable attacks.
Florida’s Laws on Owning a Wolf Hybrid
Despite these risks and challenges, there are some individuals who remain interested in obtaining and keeping a wolf hybrid as a pet. But, unfortunately, in Florida, private individuals are generally not permitted to do so. It does not matter what domestic breed with which the animal is bred; if the animal is indistinguishable from a wolf, it is considered captive wildlife.
With that said, organizations and individuals who want to keep a wolf hybrid must comply with a litany of rules and regulations set out by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This includes details on how the animal will be kept restrained and the sort of facility needed to house the animal legally.
Failing to follow these regulations can result in civil and criminal penalties.
Responsibility For a Wolf Hybrid Attack in Florida
There is a second reason why owning a wolf hybrid is not smart, even if you could do so legally. In Florida, the owner of any sort of dog or wild animal can be held strictly liable for the harm that animal causes.
That means — if your wolf hybrid were to cause injury to someone — you could be held responsible for compensating that person no matter what precautions you took to restrain the animal.
Wolf Hybrids Generally Cannot Be Kept As Pets in Florida
Wolves are majestic and impressive creatures, so it is understandable why some people want to tame part of their wild nature and bring them home. Be that as it may, current Florida law does not allow that ownership for most private individuals.
If you are a facility or individual equipped and licensed to handle such a creature, realize that owning a wolf hybrid comes with significant legal risk.
Contact the Pinellas County Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help
For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg personal injury law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
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