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Boy is injured by wolf dog used for teaching

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

(03-27) 15:41 PST MENIFEE, Calif. (AP) --

A wolf-dog hybrid used in classrooms to teach kids not to fear wolves grabbed a 10-year-old in a supermarket parking lot and dragged the youngster 20 feet before letting go, the boy's mother said.

"This is a wolf. You take one look at it and it freaks you out," Taylor Moore's mother, Shannon Moore said Tuesday as she recalled Friday's attack. "I was screaming, 'Somebody help my son' and he was screaming, 'Mommy, help me."'

The boy was treated for puncture wounds, scrapes and bruises.

Dave Natali, 54, operator of the Wolf Wildlife Education program that brings animals to southwest Riverside County schools, said the hybrid named Dakota was merely being playful and wanted some of Taylor's ice cream. Dakota was quarantined by animal control officers.

Animal control officers said the boy was dragged 20 to 40 feet, but Natali said he was holding Dakota on a leash and the boy couldn't have been dragged more than 4 feet.

An April 2 hearing was ordered to determine whether Natali will lose his dog ownership privileges, county Animal Services spokesman Ralph Rivers said.

"This is an accident that was waiting to happen. Wolves have a wildness that can't be bred out of them," Rivers said.

"These animals are a part of my religious and cultural beliefs," said Natali, who is a Nez Perce Indian. He said he will make efforts to control Dakota, including getting him neutered.

©2002 Associated Press  

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