Wolf hybrid will do life at Angola
A state judge granted a reprieve Tuesday to a wolf dog hybrid named Chief, sparing him the death penalty, but sentencing to a lifetime of employment at Louisiana State Prison in Angola.
The judge had earlier ordered the dog destroyed for aggressive behavior.
Judge James Best of 18th Judicial District Court released Chief to the custody of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections at the request of prison officials who want to use him to guard inmates.
Area residents testified before the judge last month that Chief frequently escaped from his owners’ property and “terrorized” them, according to The Advocate. Local law in Pointe Coupee Parish requires all dogs be confined to an owner’s property, or secured on a leash. After hearing from the witnesses, Best ordered the dog — who is part wolf, part German shepherd — to be euthanized.
Best said he was contacted by Angola Warden Burl Cain, who wanted to take Chief into custody for guard dog service at the 18,000-acre maximum security state prison.
“When we saw this dog in the paper, we thought it would be a shame to euthanize,” Deputy Warden Bruce Dodd said.
The state prison has developed a program in which wolf hybrids are deployed at night within perimeter fencing encircling the prison’s individual camps.
The program has helped the prison make do with fewer guards, many of whom have been released due to budget cuts.
The prison also breeds wolf hybrids for the program, Dodd said. More than a dozen are already on duty.
“We don’t want them to be vicious killers, but to be aggressive,” Dodd said. “They become a security measure.”
Chief’s previous owner, Vicky Smith, said she doubts the dog, who she purchased as a 5-week-old puppy for her son, would thrive in his new surroundings.
“He’s not going to do well without us. We’re his family,” she said. “I think he’s going to be really, really stressed. We keep him inside our air-conditioned home. I feed him oatmeal for breakfast. You think they’re going to feed him that?”
Despite witness testimony, Smith said, Chief is harmless and has never “bit or hurt anyone.”
“It’s not right what they’re doing. I was going to sell my house and move out of the parish to keep my dog. I want my dog back, but once he goes to Angola I don’t think I’ll get him.”
Parish officials said Chief was to be taken to Angola Wednesday.
“I’m just glad for the dog,” Judge Best said. “It’s a beautiful ending and the community got some relief. The dog is going to provide good service and be well taken care of.”
(Photo by Travis Spradling / The Advocate)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
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