Home video documents a two-week mission lead by Deborah Turcott of the Upper Valley Humane Society. The goal-- to remove 40 wolf hybrids, or wolf dogs as they are called, from an isolated mountaintop property in central New Hampshire.
"I think I used the word surreal at one point. It really was surreal," Turcott said.
The animals were penned atop Oregon Mountain in Alexandria where, according to law enforcement, William and Anna Russell had been running a rescue for the last six years. Grafton County officials recently evicted the Russells for an issue unrelated to the animals, but there was no place to house the wolf dogs. When Turcott and her crew arrived, they found the wolf dogs in various stages of health and temperament from relatively strong to severe issues.
"Emaciated, can't walk, tumors riddling their body," Turcott said.
Several of the animals needed to be put down, including ones that were unable to be crated.
"There were a couple of dogs that would charge me-- wolf dogs, I should say-- that would charge me actively in the pen. In fact, that pen, I was no longer allowed to enter," Turcott said.
Four of the wolf dogs are being housed at the Humane Society in Enfield and will eventually be adopted. That's because Turcott says they are actually not wolves at all.
"The only reason that we have the four animals here that we do is because they are only wolf hybrid in name. They do not exhibit any wolf behaviors, they do not look like wolves. They show us that they have no content in them," Turcott explained.
Twenty-five wolf dogs were transported to an animal rescue on the eastern side of the state.
The Russells don't face charges yet. Officials at the Humane Society support criminal charges against the previous owner. However, the decision on whether to prosecute will ultimately be up to law enforcement. Turcott says if anything, the incident should highlight the need for new laws surrounding wolf hybrids.
"Making sure that the animals are properly cared for, making sure that they all have the vaccinations that they need," she said.
Turcott says there is no regulation in the Granite State that governs this type of animal.
"And if that can't happen, then we probably shouldn't be allowing them in our state, at least in this number," Turcott said.
It's an experience she hopes can be prevented in the future.
Vermont does have laws regarding wolf hybrids which include immunization requirements, permitting and onsite inspection of facilities.
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