Wolf rescued by Houston SPCA flown to new home

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Wolf rescued by Houston SPCA flown to new home

A gray wolf that was seized two months ago in Harris County is now on its way to a wolf sanctuary in Washington state. The flight carrying him to a cooler climate and a recognized rescue that specializes in wolves left this morning.

He was part of a seizure of more than a dozen animals from a feed store in the Aldine area. It wasn't aggressive, it would just stand at a distance," said Sgt Christine Hendrick, who also said it wasn't being fed an appropriate diet for a wolf, and its enclosure was inadequate.

One of the store's owners said a man gave them the animal several years ago, because he was moving. "He told us it was a wolf hybrid." The SPCA's DNA test showed that it was almost pure grey wolf.

By law, wolves, and wolf hybrids are not allowed to be kept in Harris County. Until recently, gray wolves were on the federal endangered species list.

Since the seizure, the wolf was kept in the exotic animal area of the Houston SPCA. He has put on some weight, but human contact is kept to a minimum. "We didn't want him to imprint on any more people," said Brian Latham of the Houston SPCA. "We want him to be a wolf."

Because of that, he was put in a covered kennel in preparation for the long flight to Washington state, so he wouldn't react to the activity around him.

Wolf Haven International is regarded as one of the top sanctuaries to care for rescued wolves. Its newest resident, who was neutered several years ago, will be paired with a female wolf. It will likely be the first time he will be with one of his kind.

The wolf was not given a name by the SPCA. "We don't name wildlife, because that's what they are -- wildlife," said Latham.
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