Wolf-hybrid dogs attack family pet in Johnson County

Angel and Randy Pope's dog Shadow was attacked by wolf-hybrid dogs.

A Johnson County woman is warning other pet owners after a neighbor's wolf dogs attacked her dog.

"Your belly itch?" Angel Pope asks her 7-year-old lab-basset hound mix Shadow as she scratches the dog's stomach.

A scratch on the belly is the least Pope can do for her Shadow these days.

"He saved my son's life. He saved my life. He saved the puppy's life," Angel says of the dog.

It all happened right in Pope's backyard at her home in Franklin, where Shadow and the family's new puppy were outside on leads in the early morning.

"I saw the white dog and the black dog and I thought they were wolves, I really did," Pope explains of what she saw come into her backyard.

According to a report from Johnson County Animal Control, what Pope saw were two wolf-hybrid dogs that had escaped from their owner who lives nearby.

"We've seen 'em running around, but never right up in our yard," Randy Pope explains.

This time the dogs came in the Popes' backyard and attacked Shadow.

"You can see where they were dragging him. He was trying to get away and they were literally dragging him," Angel Pope explains, showing marks in the dirt that show where Shadow put up a fight. "I can still hear with every bite, him yelping in the backyard."

Pope called 911. It took a police officer firing a shot to scare the wolf hybrids away so they could stop the attack on Shadow and get him to safety.

"He just kept fighting until the cop shot off the gun," remembers Angel. "I don't know how he's here. I just don't."

A surgery, hundreds of stitches, a cone and $1,000 later, Shadow is going to be okay.

"This is our baby," Angel says.

The owners of the wolf hybrids gave them up to go live at a rescue.

"I don't want to see those dogs put down, but they don't need to be in a neighborhood like this, where there are so many kids everywhere," Angel says.

In Indiana, wolf hybrids can live wherever they want as long as their owners keep them inside an area that has a roof and is at least six feet tall.

Like many leash laws for regular dogs, wolf hybrids can't roam free, but you don't need a special permit to own one.

"I don't know if they need to be regulated more or if they need to be bred with something different than what they're breeding 'em with. I don't know," says Randy Pope.

What the Popes do know, they're glad to have Shadow home and alive.

"He's part of the family," says Angel, hugging the dog. "He 'ain't going nowhere. That's my baby. He's not going nowhere."

The wolf hybrids' owners were fined for the dogs getting loose. The owners tell Eyewitness News their dogs dug under the fence to get out, but denied the animals were part wolf, calling them German Shepherd mixes.