A wolf hybrid has been spotted roaming the outskirts of Sebastopol in California.
The Sebastopol Police Department said that the wolf hybrid was seen heading south of the Highway 12 bridge on the eastern edge of town on Sunday morning.
Residents have been warned not to approach the wild animal if they see it – but to contact law enforcement immediately and give the location of where they saw it.
The wolf hybrid is dark grey with either black or yellow eyes.
Also known as wolfdogs, wolf hybrids are usually the result of a domesticated dog mating with a wolf or are dogs with recent wolf ancestry, according to the International Wolf Center.
While wolf hybrids are very similar to dogs in terms of their traits and natural instincts, depending on how wild they are they may have different characteristics from a domesticated dog.
In many states, it is legal to own a wolf hybrid as a pet. In California, it is legal to own a wolf hybrid as long as the animal is at least the second generation down from wolf ancestors, said Mission, a lawyer group in California.
Many sanctuaries, zoos and enclosures house wolf hybrids around the country.
In 2021, a large pack of wolf hybrids escaped an enclosure in Orange County, California, and were on the loose around the area, reported the News and Observer.
Nine of the wolfdogs were captured, but three more remained on the loose.
As only professionals are qualified to take care of wolf hybrids as they are not fully socialised with humans, the creatures cannot be put up for adoption. There is also no approved rabies vaccination for the breed.
Animal services have also found it difficult to house the animals as many sanctuaries are either full or cannot take on the extra responsibility.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies