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Story Last modified at 1:14 p.m. on Thursday, February 3, 2011

Distraught owner of wolf hybrid draws SWAT response
Animal euthanized by animal control

BY ZAZ HOLLANDER
Alaska Star

An Eagle River man upset over the euthanization of his pet wolf hybrid triggered a six-hour police standoff before emerging from his Old Glenn Highway apartment without incident.

Calvin H. Hubbard, 53, was looking for "suicide by cop" over the animal's recent death and had two weapons with him – a 12-gauge shotgun and a black powder .44-caliber pistol, Anchorage police said.

The highly visible standoff near South Birchwood Loop Road on Jan. 31 drew a full SWAT response – a dozen members of the Anchorage Police Department team – plus two negotiators, four patrol officers and two police dogs, police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said. Police Chief Mark Mew was notified of the situation.

Hubbard's girlfriend called 911 around 4:30 p.m., Parker said, and described the situation: Hubbard sounded drunk after a period of sobriety and was talking about suicide over the animal's death.

The SWAT team surrounded the apartment, police said. A neighboring apartment was evacuated. One negotiator could hear Hubbard racking his shotgun as they talked by phone, Parker said.

Hubbard initially refused to come out but eventually left voluntarily around 10:30 p.m., police said.

He was transported to an area hospital for mental evaluation, Parker said. Hubbard, apparently a military veteran, was scheduled for a hearing in Veterans Wellness Court this week on charges of assaulting an officer from last year, according to a state courts database.

Hubbard in early January called Alaska State Troopers to report the theft of what he called a wolf that had been tied up outside. It is illegal to own a wolf or wolf hybrid in Alaska.

Shortly after Hubbard reported his "wolf" stolen, someone brought a wolf-like animal to Anchorage Animal Care and Control, said Jessy Coltrane, with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

A representative of animal control declined comment pending the resolution of the troopers' investigation. A troopers spokesperson did not return requests for comment.

The man said the wolf hybrid – which he found running loose – bit him when he tried to corner it, Coltrane said.

Coltranea, called in to identify the animal, said she found an "incredibly wolf-like" male canine with yellow eyes, huge paws and a distinctive grizzled gray-brown coat but a fairly mellow personality.

She determined the animal was a wolf-dog mix with a lot of wolf in it.

Under municipal law, any wolf hybrid that bites someone is automatically euthanized. State law requires the same for a wolf.

That's because there is no FDA-approved rabies vaccine, Coltrane said. Authorities are required to cut off the animal's head and get it tested for rabies. This animal came back negative, she said.

Wolf hybrids are illegal in Alaska due to concerns about disease transmission or inter-breeding with wild wolves.

But their behavior is also unpredictable and they tend to bite out of fear, Coltrane said. "They're not domesticated animals."



This article published in The Alaska Star on Thursday, February 3, 2011.