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Possible wolf hybrid dogs on the loose in NC. Orange County officials urge caution.
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Possible wolf hybrid dogs on the loose in NC. Orange County officials urge caution.

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Orange County, North Carolina officials are cautioning residents to keep an eye out for four large dogs thought to be wolf and German shepherd hybrids that are on the loose.

The dogs were among roughly a dozen that recently escaped from their enclosure in the Cedar Grove community north of Hillsborough, Orange County Animal Services officials said in a news release. Eight of the dogs have been captured and are being kept at an animal shelter, they said.

Officials have not confirmed whether the dogs are wolf hybrids. There also is no indication that the dogs have attacked people, animals or livestock. However, officials said, they may become aggressive if confronted by people.

The Animal Control team has been working with the owner to resolve the situation and safely recover the dogs, Animal Services spokeswoman Tenille Fox said. Animal Control officers also have set traps in the Cedar Grove area.

Authorities are cautioning people not try to capture or confine the dogs.

Animal Control also is asking people not to feed the dogs or interfere with the traps that have been set.

Wolf hybrids cannot be kept as pets in Orange County and are not able to receive an approved rabies vaccine, officials said. North Carolina, however, is one of four states that don't have statewide rules on who can keep an exotic animal, such as a wolf, as a pet.

It's not clear yet what will happen to the dogs when they are captured, but Animal Services is looking at possible places for them to go. Many animal rescues and sanctuaries are full at this time, Fox said.

"No outcome has been determined for the dogs at this time. The safety of these animals and the safety of the public are of the highest priority in this case," officials said in the release. "These dogs are not currently available for adoption or foster to the general public and it is highly unlikely that they will ever be made available in that way."

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