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Pack of timber wolves the talk of L.A. suburban neighborhood

He's a wolf man

Taylor Lautner of "Twilight" isn't the only wolf in Hollywood.

A pack of 10 of them live behind a white picket fence in Valley Village, where a couple of animal lovers are crusading to help what they call nature's most misunderstood creature.

Seven of the animals are pups, born in late May to a 6-year-old Alaskan timber wolf and her brawny mate.

"We want to educate people, especially children, so they can coexist with wildlife," said Paul Pondella, a tree surgeon who rescued his first wolf 21 years ago from the mountains above Glendale. "Wolves are the closest thing to man in terms of community."

But the animals have historically gotten a bad rap, said Colette Duvall, an actress and writer who was introduced to wolves by Pondella. "Some people associate wolves with evil. A lot of misconceptions have been passed down to people over the ages."

Read the full story about the San Fernando Valley wolf pack.

-- Bob Pool in Valley Village

Photos: Paul Pondella plays with Takoda (also seen below), the alpha male in his wolf pack, as his partner, Colette Duvall, looks on. The couple have three adult wolves and seven pups. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (8)

these people are dealing with a time bomb. it is only a matter of time before one of the wolves manifests its alpha nature and asserts itself in a savage way. peligro.

Misunderstood, give me a break!

Pit bulls are even more misunderstood,
but the gang-banger types know what
they are for. The owners of both these types
of aggressive animals are showing utter
disregard of any neighbors or visitors in
the area that may be injured by an attack.

From Wiki:
"As adults, wolves have been shown, most of the time, to be largely unpredictable, and will sometimes display aggressive behaviour toward small animals and children. Pure wolves can never be fully trusted with children because, unlike dogs, they lack any alteration of their predatory behavior. These behaviors are genetically encoded and thus cannot be eliminated by socialization or training. At best, these inherent behaviours can only be suppressed.[5] Wolves have a strong incentive to rise up the pack hierarchy, as only the dominant pair may breed, thus they will instinctively challenge their owner for pack status after reaching adult age.[1] In the wild, wolves usually disperse from their pack upon reaching adulthood, but as this is mostly impossible in captivity, conflict avoidance behaviour is not an option. In such scenarios, it is not unusual for wolves to attack their owners or pen mates.[1] Some wildlife centres housing captive wolves prohibit handlers from entering wolf enclosures if they happen to have a cold or other vulnerability which the wolves can detect.[6] Captive wolves are generally shy and avoid eye contact with humans other than their owner, as well as not listening to any commands made by any other humans. They usually vacate rooms or hide when a new person enters the establishment.[7] Even seemingly friendly wolves need to be treated with caution, as captive wolves tend to view and treat people as other wolves, and will thus bite or attack people in the same situation in which they would other wolves.[8] Ordinary pet food is inadequate, seeing as an adult wolf needs 1-2.5 kg (2-5 lbs) of meat daily along with bones, skin and fur to meet its nutritional requirements. Wolves may defend their food against people, and react violently to people trying to remove it.[2] The exercise needs of a wolf exceed the average dog's demand. Because of this, captive wolves typically do not cope well in urban areas.[2] Due to their talent at observational learning, adult captive wolves can quickly work out how to escape confinement[3], and need constant reminding that they are not the leader of their owner/caretaker, which makes raising wolves difficult for people who raise their pets in an even, rather than subordinate, environment."

Zoning laws? It it legal?

These are not wolves. They are wolf-dogs. There is only a slight, psuedo-acknowledgement of this and then the article continues to call them wolves:

"Each of the adults is licensed by the city as an F2 wolf hybrid, which means their lineage supposedly includes some dog DNA." Not supposedly. Clearly. For those familiar with wolves the photographs are enough.


to my Calabasas Neighbors: Don't get any ideas from this feelgood article please, we have enough wildlife out here to worry about
go save a shelter dog!!

As a canine behavior specialist, I am troubled by the idea that wolf-hybrids living a highly confined urban existence adequately fulfills the needs of the wolf. It would be nearly impossible for a human to adequately exercise these large animals without having access to multiple acres of fenced terrain for them to run, hunt, and explore. Understimulated, under-exercised animals experience a lot of neurotic behaviors (pacing, property destruction, and sometimes aggression). A visit to your local shelter will confirm this in a matter of minutes.
It's a bad idea to present these noble creatures as something akin to really big dogs who can easily adapt to life in an urban environment. People will assume if this guy can live with them, so can they. But then Mr. Pondella is breeding his wolves/hybrids, so that may very well be his intention.

Chimps, Tigers, Orcas... all trainable animals. Right. Are Wolves any different?

Great points, Dee.


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