Wolf-hybrid escapes in Thurston County

by: Richard Thompson Updated:

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THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. - On Friday morning, Lakota, a 140-pound wolf-hybrid escaped his enclosure and attacked a GermansShepherd living at the same home. Then Lakota jumped over a 10-foot high fence and into the backyard of a neighbor’s home. 

An off-duty Pierce County deputy was driving by when he was flagged down by a person saying a wolf had just attacked a dog. The deputy called the Thurston County Sheriff's Office which quickly responded to the area in the 7000 block of Meridian Road SE.

Deputies worked to contain the wolf-hybrid in the backyard. Thurston County Lt. Greg Elwin said "We were prepared to shoot the dog if we had to. It was very aggressive towards neighbors and any passers-by."

Lakota's owner Rich Miracle was able to coax the animal inside a small kennel. As the dog tried to chew its way out of that kennel a Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife officer arrived and was able to use a tranquilizer dart to subdue Lakota who is 98 percent wolf -- but still legal to own.

"It's OK to have it. It's not OK to let that dog be a dangerous marauding animal," said Elwin. The wolf dog's owner does not believe anybody was endangered by Lakota. He thought he had a very secure kennel system but the incident made him realize he needs improvements. "I wouldn't say it's a danger to the community. I would say animals are animals and they just need to be contained a little better."

Miracle, who is a professional builder, spent Friday afternoon with his work crew constructing a roof for the kennel system to ensure no matter how high Lakota or his other two wolf-hybrids jump they will not be able to escape the yard.

Miracle knows Lakota's escape could result in a fine from the county but he says he's just relieved nobody got hurt including Lakota.

Under Washington state law, as long as a wolf is not a purebred it is legal to own as a wolf-dog hybrid.