Charges dropped against Healy man over wolf hybrids

DOGS: Owner wasn't aware of their ancestry when he bought them.

February 18, 2011 

FAIRBANKS -- The Fairbanks District Attorney's office has dismissed charges of possessing wolf hybrids against a Healy man, saying he was not aware of their pedigree.

But Terry Delbene, 59, was "put on notice" that the animals are potentially hybrids and he could eventually be charged for possessing them, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Hybrids are illegal to own in Alaska unless grandfathered before Jan. 23, 2002. They also must be neutered, licensed, vaccinated against rabies, registered and be implanted with a microchip.

"In any crime, you are required to have an action and a mental requirement," said Assistant District Attorney Ben Seekins.

"You're required to take an action and to do so intentionally, knowingly, negligently or with criminal intent," Seekins said. "I didn't think he was aware that they were wolf hybrids."

Alaska Wildlife Trooper Ralf Lysdahl visited Delbene last November and found three large animals that "looked strikingly similar to wolves," according to a criminal complaint filed in Nenana court.

Lysdahl reported the animals had golden eyes and their fur pattern was consistent with that of wolves. The canines did not bark at Lysdahl and instead howled and yipped like wolves, he wrote in the criminal complaint.

The kennel for the animals had electrified wiring on all interior sides, the trooper noted.

Delbene told Lysdahl he bought the animals in Florida and brought them to Alaska in July.

Delbene said the dogs were Inuits, a type of wolf hybrid, but he did not have any papers indicating the canines' pedigree or ancestry. All three were spayed females.

According to Lysdahl, Delbene is aware of laws on possessing hybrid wolves in Alaska and did not have a state permit.

Lysdahl returned to Delbene's home more than two weeks later, on Dec. 10, and was granted consent to collect DNA samples from the three canines.

A University of California Davis lab report said two of the animals have genetics only found in wolves and it was the lab director's professional opinion "that those two canines have recent wolf history in their ancestry," the criminal complaint stated.

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