Should a dog be considered “dangerous” because it kills two cats? Can you lose ownership of your dog because it is dangerous and has wolf DNA? Those are the questions raised in the case of Karma, an Orange County dog confiscated from her owners and now on her way to the East Coast. Can the county take away your husky because it killed a cat?
Karma’s problems began when the two adults at her Anaheim residence were arrested according to the OC Register. Karma then was placed in the custody of OC Animal Care on May 24, 2015. Once she was impounded, reports that Karma had killed two cats in 2012 were re-opened. Karma had been roaming off of her owners’ property during those incidents and there were other reports of her roaming loose. In the city of Anaheim, dogs that have inflicted any injury on a domestic animal can be declared a vicious or dangerous dog.
The further complicate matters, genetic testing indicated that she was part wolf, not from a recent pairing but from several generations back. There is no approved rabies vaccination for rabies for wolf hybrids. There is no proof that rabies vaccines made for dogs will work for wolves or wolf hybrids. In California, first generation wolf hybrids are illegal, but not second or third generation. Yet according to CBS News, the attorney for the owners could prove that Karma was not a hybrid or a husky mix. She was a purebred Siberian husky, with a pedigree recording seven generations.
Because the county considers her a wolf hybrid and because she deemed “dangerous,” Karma was not returned to her owners and was sentenced to death. That set animal activists into action. Think about. Karma was a registered service dog for PTSD according to the OC Register. She was four years old and healthy. Most dog trainers recognize that there’s a potential for dogs to kill other animals. Even a Shi Tzu can kill a rabbit and be declared dangerous. Karma may be dangerous to cats, but it has not been shown that Karma is dangerous to humans. Cats roaming free are known to kill birds and mice and yet, a cat would not likely be euthanized for killing.
Deciding to euthanize Karma didn’t make any sense to the owners and to many animal lovers nationwide. A man from Memphis, TN started a Change.org petition to save a “sweet Husky mix” with “an extremely low wolf content on her DNA test” and by Oct. 7, received 156,186 signatures of the 200,000 goal (short 43,814 signatures as of noon today, Oct. 7, 2015). But Karma was saved due to the numerous objections raised. Earlier this month OC Superior Court Judge Corey S. Carmin rescinded his euthanization order and Karma will be sent to a wolf sanctuary in North Carolina–even though there was one in San Bernardino County that was willing to take Karma.
While the Change.org petition may have saved Karma’s life, it may also have complicated matters: Karma characterized as a wolf hybrid on the petition and in the news reports by CBS News and the OC Register, but the attorney for the owners claims there is proof that the dog is not a mix but a purebred Siberian Husky and the wolf DNA content is that from the original forebears that all dogs share in the distant past. Karma, a dog that wasn’t dangerous enough to confiscate apparently would have lived as a domestic pets for the rest of her life if not for the bad karma arrest of her owners.
Karma was saved, but why and for whom? One wonders if she will hear the call of the wild when she is at the wolf sanctuary/rescue or if she will howl, remembering the days she once was a beloved pet, sleeping on a couch.