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Can You Own a Pet Wolf in California?

If you’ve ever romanticized the idea of owning a wolf as your personal White Fang, you may want to reconsider. According to California law, owning the ancestor of man’s best friend is unlawful, and violating this law comes with heavy consequences.

A Review of Exotic Animal Law
The state of California carries some of the strictest laws in the country when it comes to the ownership and regulation of exotic animals, perhaps because of the state’s rich biodiversity. The Golden State is home to an extensive array of predatory animals, from cougars and mountain lions to wolves and even some species of bears.

The California Department of Fish and Game regulates what kinds of animals may or may not be kept as pets. Some animals are banned for obvious reasons. Tigers, for example, rank highly on the list for the dangers they pose. Other species, like hedgehogs and ferrets, are similarly banned, but for reasons like being a threat to native species if released. Wolves and first generation world hybrids are listed among restricted species.

If you’re committed to owning a species that’s part wolf, puppies must be second generation or higher. In other words, your puppy must come from a first generation hybrid parent. If your dog is even 1% wolf hybrid, you must handle it like an exotic animal. However, you’re only required to apply for a permit from the Department of Fish and Game if your hybrid is 50% wolf. The Department of Fish and Game issues permits “only to qualified individuals or institutions for limited purposes such as research, public exhibition, or shelter. Permits are not issued to import or possess any wild animal for pet purposes.”

Considerations for the Ownership of Wolf Hybrids
If you’re in the market for a wolf hybrid that’s second generation or less, it’s your responsibility to follow any applicable laws and regulations. Keep in mind some general tips while shopping:

  • Only purchase from reputable breeders. Do some research to ensure your dog will comply not only with state laws, but any local ordinances as well. If possible, make sure your breeder is registered with a local kennel club or professional affiliation.
  • Keep up to date with all of your pet’s vaccinations and health care needs. According to the California Veterinary Medical Association, the canine rabies vaccine may not be effective in preventing rabies in wolf hybrids. If your pet bites someone, it will be treated like a wild animal, not a pet.
  • Take precautions to ensure your hybrid is trained and domesticated. Enroll the animal in obedience school and socialize him or her with other dogs and humans from puppyhood. Address any concerns regarding aggression promptly with your veterinarian.

Fines for Owning Wolves, First Generation Hybrids, and Other Restricted Animals
The fines associated with owning an exotic pet without a license vary by local ordinance. To determine the penalties by your locale, contact your local humane society or veterinarian for information. Exotic pets are regulated strictly in California, in part to protect the health of the general population. Animals can transmit serious diseases to humans, as well as pose a threat of bodily harm.

Get Counsel from an Experienced Animal Bite Attorney in Los Angeles
If you’ve been injured by an exotic animal like a wolf or wolf hybrid, you may be entitled to compensation. Pet owners are responsible for the actions of their pets, and you can collect a settlement separate from any fines a guilty party incurs in civil court. To review your animal injury case today, contact our Los Angeles dig bite and animal attack lawyer office for a free case evaluation. We’ll put our years of experience to work for you to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us at Grey Law today. 323-471-0568

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