Animal services

Placement being finalized for wolfdogs held at OC Animal Services | Community

Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) has potentially found a suitable shelter for some of the wolfdogs housed at the shelter. Placement for these animals is still being finalized and there are still wolfdogs at the shelter that need proper placement options.

Since these animals arrived at the shelter in July and August 2021, OCAS has worked diligently to find suitable placement for them. Orange County Animal Services Director Dr. Sandra Strong contacted experts regarding the wolfdog phenotype and behavior. On August 10, a veterinary board certified in zoo medicine evaluated these animals and confirmed that their phenotype and behavior are compatible with the wolf-dog crossbreed. This expert has extensive experience working with wolves and has agreed to the placement plan. OCAS will not adopt wolfdogs from individuals as it would be a public hazard to place these types of animals with anyone other than an experienced or licensed professional/sanctuary.

OCAS has spoken with many organizations and experts from across the United States. Several sanctuaries have contacted OCAS to check on the wolfdogs, but most have been unable to help with placement as they are full. OCAS has also reached out to many suitable rescues, but none of these organizations have been able to take in large-breed animals that need extensive socialization.

On December 8, 2021, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist evaluated the wolfdogs and confirmed that long-term confinement in a shelter is stressful and not a humane solution. OCAS is always seeking appropriate placement for all wolfdogs, but humane euthanasia will likely be considered the best option for them if a placement cannot be secured.

“Unfortunately, these dogs were never properly socialized as pets,” Dr. Strong said. “They cannot be safely walked on a leash and they cannot be easily handled for care or effective social interaction. We try to keep them as comfortable as possible during their stay with us, and we provide them with an enrichment that they will accept. The sad reality is that the remaining wolfdogs cannot continue to stay at the shelter. Shelter housing, especially for large, unsocialized animals like these wolfdogs, does not provide an acceptable long-term quality of life and is inconsistent with good animal welfare practices.”

Wolfdogs are not legal to own in Orange County and many other jurisdictions. There is no approved rabies vaccination for these animals, which reiterates the need for placement with experienced professionals.

More information about Orange County Animal Services can be found at or by calling 919-942-7387.