Wolf-dog killed after preying on pets, livestock Animal escaped from its owners


Two Carroll County animal control officers tracked, shot and killed Tuesday a hybrid wolf-dog that had been wreaking havoc on pets and livestock on both sides of the Carroll-Frederick County line, officials said yesterday.

The half-wolf, half-dog, which was 18 months old, weighed 100 pounds and stood 30 inches tall at the shoulder, had escaped from a pen at its owners' home in Frederick County about Oct. 28, officials said.

The animal -- which had narrow eyes, long legs and big teeth -- stalked cows at Keyterra Farm near the Carroll-Frederick line for a week. It killed a 250-pound calf and severely injured a 1,250-pound Holstein -- which was so severely injured that it had to be killed -- and eluded for days the men who hunted it.

Jeff Bruchey, 27, the Middleburg Road dairy farmer whose cows were attacked, said the wolf-dog was an impressive animal. "He was worthy of respect, I'd say," he said.

After the wolf-dog escaped from its owners, a neighbor called authorities to report that the animal had attacked his cat and dog, said Brian E. Rupp, a county animal control officer. Both pets survived.

Authorities set up a wire cage on a Frederick County property in an attempt to trap the wolf-dog, but it stayed away, instead following railroad tracks for two miles to the Bruchey farm in nearby Keymar, where it tormented calves.

It is illegal to own a wolf-dog in Maryland because there is no approved rabies vaccine for the victim of a bite, said Barbara MacLeod, a spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources.

Some people breed the animals "because they try to get back to what they think is raw nature," said Bob Yarnall Jr., an animal control officer in Chester County, Pa., who raises wolves.

Linda Bruchey, 28, said she and her husband awoke three days in a row last week to find that their six calves, which live in small hutches outside the barn, had jumped 3-foot-high fences enclosing the hutches. Mrs. Bruchey surmised that the wolf-dog had growled at the calves and scared them.

On the fourth day, last Thursday, the wolf-dog attacked and killed a 4-month-old purebred Holstein calf. The calf was worth about $500, Mr. Bruchey said.

In an effort to kill the wolf-dog, Mr. Bruchey and a friend, Bryon Layman of Rocky Ridge, armed with a high-powered rifle, sat in a truck on a hill near the barn with a clear view of the calf hutches. Animal control authorities had left a cage baited with meat from the dead calf.

The two men stayed up until 3 a.m. for four nights, but the wolf-dog sneaked near the calves after the men went to bed.

Early Sunday, the animal struck for the last time, attacking a 1,250-pound Holstein in the barnyard.

The cow, valued at about $1,400, lost so much blood that it had to be killed.

Authorities then agreed to stalk the wolf-dog. Mr. Rupp and David R. Stair, the county's chief animal control officer, went to the Bruchey farm Monday night and stalked the animal.

By sunup, they had seen nothing. So, armed with rifles, they searched the area on foot. Mr. Rupp saw the wolf-dog walking back toward Frederick County and fired, hitting the animal's right leg.

The wolf-dog kept walking, and the officers followed a mile-long trail of blood for two hours. When they found the animal, Mr. Stair fired a shot from about 100 yards away and killed the wolf-dog.

The Brucheys said they don't know the owners' names, and Nicky Ratliff, director of the Carroll Humane Society, would not release their names to reporters.

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