Escaped wolf hybrid shot by deputy

"An escaped hybrid wolf named Rascal was shot and killed by a deputy sheriff Saturday afternoon in the Double Bluff area.Rascal was 11 years old and about 75 percent wolf. He was owned by Dean and Lynda Petrich, who live in the Goss Lake area. The animal escaped from its pen Wednesday evening, Jan. 24, after the gate had been inadvertently left open.Wolf hybrids are considered inherently dangerous mammals under Island County ordinance. Soon after Rascal escaped the public was notified of the possible danger. Saturday morning, warning leaflets were handed out by Sheriff's Department volunteers.The Petrich family signed a release giving permission to authorities to kill their pet if necessary.We have the highest regard for Carol Barnes of Animal Control and the deputies, and all the people who offered to help us, said Lynda Petrich.Jan Smith, Sheriff's Office spokesperson, said several possible sightings were reported Saturday, all south of Freeland between Thompson and Double Bluff roads. The last report came from a homeowner on Moonrise Lane, off Lancaster Road above Double Bluff Beach.Barnes responded with Deputy Darren Crownover and began searching the area. As described in a news release from Smith, Crownover passed along dense shrubbery and heard rustling; then the hybrid wolf appeared about four feet away and started coming toward the two.The wolf hybrid did not obey voice commands, Smith said. Crownover attempted to halt the animal's movement by wounding it in the shoulder, but it attempted to flee after being injured. The deputy then used his rifle to put the animal down.Crownover is quoted as saying, It's unfortunate it had to end this way. But there were no means to control or contain the wolf hybrid, and he was known to be a danger to the community. We didn't want to hurt him, but we had no choice.Both Lynda and Dean Petrich expressed sadness over Rascal's demise, but understood why it had to happen.He was fluffy, happy and healthy, he was in his prime. He was free the last couple days of his life, Dean Petrich said.The Petrichs have one remaining wolf hybrid, a female that Petrich describes it as more dog than wolf. She, too, seems to miss Rascal. She's really lonely and howling every night, he said. "

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