The BC SPCA is aware of sightings and reports of a purported wolf-dog hybrid in the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN), including a recent situation involving a young French Bulldog who was allegedly killed by the animal while walking on leash with its owners.
With limited information on the animal and recognizing that the Society has limited legal jurisdiction for an animal of this nature, the BC SPCA encourages residents to exercise caution and to avoid the area wherever possible to ensure the safety of animals and people.
Why is the BC SPCA not trying to catch the wolf-dog?
The BC SPCA has the authority to intervene in cases of animal cruelty, neglect and distress under the provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act), which only applies to wildlife when kept in captivity. The authority for the Wildlife Act is held by the Provincial government.
It is important to note that the Wildlife Act does not currently apply to hybrid wild-domestic animals. The roaming wolf-dog hybrid falls into the category of a stray animal as a result.
Currently, the RDN contracts their animal control services from Coastal Animal Control Services of B.C. The Society does have contracts for animal control and kenneling services with several municipalities and Regional Districts, but the RDN is not one of them.
Without an animal control contract in the RDN, the BC SPCA has no legal authority to apprehend this animal, as it would be considered a stray dog under current legislation.
Why aren’t you doing anything about this?
Under current legislation, the BC SPCA has no legal authority to apprehend this animal.
However, the Society has long advocated for the inclusion of all exotic and wild-domestic hybrid animals in the Controlled Alien Species (CAS) regulation. Aside from their risks to humans and other animals, there are serious animal welfare and ecological concerns associated with exotic and hybrid pets.
This past September, the RDN, in partnership with the BC SPCA, put forward a resolution that was endorsed by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). Resolution NR50 – Amendment to the Controlled Alien Species Regulation to Prohibit Exotic Animals, found on page 121 of the 2023 UBCM Resolutions Book, reads:
Whereas exotic animals and their hybrids are not domesticated and suffer physically and psychologically when bred, kept, displayed and sold in captivity, and may pose public health and safety risks to other animals and people;
And whereas the removal of exotic animals from their natural habitat damages fragile ecosystems and threatens the survival of wild populations, and their release from captivity can harm British Columbia’s ecosystems and native wildlife;
Therefore be it resolved that UBCM ask the Province of British Columbia to immediately amend the Controlled Alien Species Regulation to prohibit all Felids, including Servals, other than the domestic cat (Felis catus), and all Canids other than the domestic dog (Canis familiaris), including all hybrids of F1-3 generation;
And be it further resolved that UBCM ask the Province of British Columbia to further amend the Controlled Alien Species Regulation to create a positive list of permitted species to replace the existing negative list of prohibited species, including only domesticated species and certain hybrids of an F4 generation or greater.
We advocate and provide resources to help local governments adopt their own bylaws to prohibit the keeping, breeding and selling of exotic and wild-domestic hybrid animals. However, this community-by-community, piecemeal approach to a province-wide issue is not ideal, and leaves enforcement and handling of potentially dangerous animals to individual municipalities and Regional Districts. For this reason, we will continue to advocate for the inclusion of all exotic and wild-domestic hybrid animals in the CAS regulation.
What is the BC SPCA’s stance on wolf-dog hybrids?
The BC SPCA is opposed to the keeping, breeding, sale, display or trade of hybrid wild animals (including exotic species), such as, wolf-dogs, savannah cats, zorses (horse-zebra) and other wild-domestic crosses. The Society actively encourages the adoption of legislation, regulation and policies that prohibit their importation, breeding, display and sale, protect their welfare, and minimize their risk to the environment and human health and safety.
If not the BC SPCA, then who should be doing something about this?
As a purported wolf-dog hybrid, this animal would be considered a stray dog under current legislation. Currently, the RDN contracts their animal control services from Coastal Animal Control Services of B.C., and animal control services are typically responsible for the capture of stray animals. However, given the inherent public safety risk and the fact that this animal has successfully evaded multiple attempts at capture, the RCMP have been contacted for their involvement.
The BC SPCA encourages the Province to support these agencies through the unique skillset of Conservation Officers.