Dandridge wolf-dog sanctuary offers safe place for special breed

Source: (WVLT/Wolf Paws)
Source: (WVLT/Wolf Paws)(WVLT)
Published: Mar. 1, 2020 at 6:52 PM EST
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Wolf-dogs are part dog and part wolf. They are becoming increasingly popular in the United States.

It is legal to own them in some states, including Tennessee. As the dogs get older, they’re harder to take care of and can rebel against their owners due to their nature.

Sanctuaries like Wolf Paws are now once of the only places for the animals to go. For seven years, Jennifer Ackley has been caring for wolf dogs at her sanctuary.

They have nine dogs currently. They each get half an acre for eating, playing and jumping. It’s surrounded by a fence and digging barriers so that the wolf-dogs can’t escape.

As a wolf-dog matures, their natural prey instinct can be triggered by animals or even small children.

According to

, there are more than 250,000 wolf-dogs living as pets in the United States. More than 75% of them will die before their first birthday because of abuse, neglect, and misunderstanding of their nature.

Volunteers like Helen Aurenz watch over the dogs. They help prepare their food, feed them, and socialize them.

Aurenz says she's seen dogs come in malnourished and skittish. Now they are roaming around their domain.

“They really don't want to be indoors, they want to be outside, and they want to be with one of their own,” said Ackley.

Most people aren’t equipped to have a wolf-dog as a pet without a lot of land and high fences.

Wolf Paws is a nonprofit that runs on donations. If you would like to schedule a tour or figure out how to get involved you can email them at or go to


Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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