Dogs or wolf-dog hybrids? State gets involved in case

The DNA tests on samples taken from seven animals in Connecticut showed them to be domestic dogs with “no recent wolf ancestry,” according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

“These tests show that these animals are not an illegal wolf hybrid and that it is legal for the current owner to have them in his possession,” Susan Whalen, DEEP deputy commissioner, said on Thursday.

“We have notified state and local animal control officials of the test results, as they now have jurisdiction over any future issues with these animals, including licensing, vaccinations and roaming,” Whalen said.

Owner cooperated with investigation

The owner of the dogs in North Stonington — a town in far southeastern Connecticut, along the Rhode Island border — had cooperated with an investigation being conducted by DEEP’s Environmental Conservation (EnCon) police.

Owner Ashbow Sebastian of Lantern Hill Road agreed to allow DNA testing of his animals to determine if they were canines or an illegal wolf hybrid.

DNA report released on April 23

Saliva samples for DNA testing were taken March 31 by a local veterinarian. The samples were sent to a lab at the University of California-Davis, which specializes in DNA testing.

The local veterinarian who conducted the tests received the results from the lab and forwarded them to DEEP. The report on the results, dated April 23, discusses the tests performed and the reasons for concluding that the animals were domestic dogs.

Nearby residents raised concerns

EnCon Police first became involved in this situation in late March following DNA test results obtained by residents of the Long Pond area on the North Stonington/Ledyard border indicating that a deceased animal was a wolf hybrid.

Residents there had also expressed concerns about similar-looking animals they said were threatening them. It is illegal to poses a wolf/dog hybrid in Connecticut.