Duchesne County ‘wolf-hybrid’ found dead confirmed to be German shepherd

Jan 14, 2022, 12:08 PM
An animal found on the side of the road in Duchesne County though to be a wolf-hybrid turns out to ...
FILE - In this July 16, 2004, file photo, a gray wolf is seen at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minn. The Republican-controlled House has passed a bill to drop legal protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states, reopening a lengthy battle over the predator species. (AP Photo/Dawn Villella, File)
(AP Photo/Dawn Villella, File)

DUCHESNE, Utah — Turns out the animal found in Duchesne County last week, thought to be a wolf-dog hybrid… is actually just a German Shepherd.

The Deseret News reported on the wolf-adjacent animal. It was found by Stephen Gray, who was heading home after a day of hunting near Duchesne in northeastern Utah when one of his friends spotted something odd.

The group pulled over to where the dead animal lay. Gray and his group grew certain the animal was in fact a wolf or a wolf-hybrid. He had experience seeing wolves in states like Alaska and Montana, although this wolf was notably smaller.

The Division of Wildlife Resources received the report, went to the scene, and collected the carcass for genetic testing. And through its testing, the DWR discovered it was, in fact, not a wolf. 

During its investigation, conservation officers learned a Duchesne resident witnessed his black German Shepherd get hit by a vehicle. It happened in the same place where the group found what they thought at the time was a woof.

In a press release, the DWR disclosed the dog’s owner is elderly and was unable to move the animal’s body because of its size.

Wolf sightings in Utah are rare, unlikely

If the animal were a relative of a wolf, it would be the first time a wolf had been in Utah in years. Since 2002, only 20 wolf sightings have been reported in Utah. 

Besides being rare in the state, the DWR says wolves cover long distances in a short amount of time and are often hard to spot.

“Wolf sightings are commonly reported, but upon further investigation, most of them have turned out to be coyotes or domestic dogs,” DWR non-game Mammals Coordinator Kimberly Hersey said.

Regardless, Hersey encouraged people to continue to report sightings as soon as they can and to include photos or videos when possible.

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