In a fit of populist hysteria 10 years ago, lawmakers in Atlanta outlawed wolf-dog hybrids. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, then, had little choice when its agents had to decide what to do about Kiowa and Pawnee, two animals rescued by Luanne Price of Harlem.
Get rid of them, or kill them, the DNR said.
What an awful choice for Price, a woman with a big heart for animals who saved the the two dogs after they were abandoned. Because the law grandfathered ownership of wolf-dog hybrids to those who possessed them prior to 1994, the original owners could keep them. But Price couldnt take over ownership after the pets were abandoned, meaning the animals were condemned to die if they stayed in Georgia.
The law doesnt protect the animal - it protects the people, complains Beverly Butler of Martinez, who helped Price tend the animals. Indeed it does. In spite of heroic tales of Kiowas loyalty in bringing food to the penned-up Pawnee after their previous owners skipped town, the DNR had to enforce state law. Two weeks of breathing room were all the agency could offer.
Fortunately, good people rise to the occasion. Word of the wolf-dogs plight quickly circulated after news reports; Price says she received thousands of calls offering support, not only from across the nation but from around the world.
Theres a happy ending. The wolf-dogs have been shipped off to a refuge in Oklahoma.
No dogs are inherently dangerous, though there are many who believe that animals recently descended from wild wolves are more likely to revert, under stress, to their killer instincts. There may be truth to that view.
And because most laws are written to avoid exploitation by those who deal in loopholes, theres little discretion or wiggle-room for rescuing gentle old animals like Kiowa and Pawnee.
The good news is that there are still people like Luanne Price, willing to go the extra mile to help even when details of the law make it difficult. Alls well that ends well, and if Kiowa and Pawnee could say thanks, they surely would.
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