"Wolves by nature are wild," says Teresa
DeMaio, owner/operator of Running With the Wolves, Inc. in
Ronkonkoma. Nevertheless, many animal lovers seem
interested in domesticating the animal, and the longtime
wolf conservationist wants to stress to the public that
the practice is both unwise and dangerous.
"Wolf pups are cute and cuddly, but that cute pup
will grow up and the 'wild nature' will appear much sooner
then you think," explains DeMaio. "Also, you
cannot train a wolf. A wolf simply goes its own way and
will not listen to commands or respond to its name."
A wolf is at least 10 times more intelligent than a dog
and has a strong memory. They are also cognitive. "If
you lock a wolf in a room, it will try to find a way out
and will eventually escape," adds DeMaio.
When they reach sexual maturity at about 2 or 3 years
of age, they can become unpredictable and very difficult
to handle or live with.
"As a wolf gets older, you must be very careful,
as their natural instincts can kick in at any time. If one
lives with a wolf and other small animals, the instinct of
survival could cause a wolf to prey on small animals or
children. To them this is time for a hunt and it can
result in a tragic situation," warns DeMaio.
"Wolves are very social and need a constant companion
to live with or they become very withdrawn and will
portray many unusual traits due to loneliness."
Sadly, many people who once owned wolves found
themselves looking to place them at a wolf sanctuary
because they could no longer care for them. Many are just
And owning a wolf hybrid, a cross between a dog and a
wolf, can sometimes be just as perilous, says DeMaio. Many
are crossed with huskies, malamutes or shepherds.
"When we combine the two, it can result in a very
unpredictable and unstable animal. Again, the wild impulse
of the wolf will kick in and this powerful animal cannot
live properly in a pet household," says DeMaio.
Hybrids, which are illegal to own in many states, also end
up being euthanized when they become incorrigible.
Those authorized to own wolves are State Licensed
Wildlife Handlers and are only given their licenses upon
providing a proper living environment for wolves that
includes the size and safety of their pens, feeding
requirements and educational knowledge.
Press pets columnist Alicyn Leigh will be a guest
speaker at the 3rd Annual Long Island Wolf Expo, held at
the Sheraton LI Hotel in Smithtown on Sunday, Aug. 6. The
event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See up close the
wilderness and beauty of wolves, as well as events,
workshops, vendors and guest speakers. Wolves Ukia and
Sitka will be appearing from Second Chance Wildlife Rescue
of Long Island. For more information, contact Running With
the Wolves, Inc. at 516-982-0640, www.runningwiththewolves.org
To send donations to help feed and care for Ukia and
Sitka, please forward to: Second Chance Wildlife Rescue,
Inc. P.O. Box 553 Farmingville NY 11738.