Moorhead's mystery animal identified

MOORHEAD, Minn. (Valley News Live) - UPDATE:

Moorhead Police say the mystery animal is a domesticated dog-wolf hybrid. The department came to the conclusion after the animal was studied by the Department of Natural Resources experts and others. The experts say based on the animal’s appearance and its mannerisms, they are confident of its hybrid lineage. Captain Swenson says a DNA test on the animal would take weeks to complete, and the results may not be accurate – so Moorhead Police are moving forward with this evaluation.

Swenson says the animal will also not be allowed to stay within city limits. At this time, the police are looking for a sanctuary or rescue to take it in.


It always starts with a picture taken from far away.

“People have reported seeing a wolf, a coyote, a German Shepherd,” says Captain Deric Swenson, with the Moorhead Police Department.

But unlike the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot, or UFOs - photographers were able to snap a clear picture of Moorhead’s mystery animal. And yet, the claims and some fears continued.

“We’ve had people scared when they thought it was a wolf running through the community,” Swenson says. “We had no information to believe that this animal a threat to anybody – more homeless and scared.”

Part of the riddle has been solved, thanks to Moorhead Police. Officers caught the animal Thursday using fancy dog food and a humane trap.
For now, it’s staying at the Moorhead Pound, where officers say it’s much safer than it was when it roamed the streets.

“Our pound is in a veterinary clinic – people there are trained professionals taking care of this animal right now, checking it over to make sure everything’s OK. Food and water are provided, it’s in a run and not a small cage. And right now, this weekend would’ve been a stormy weekend the way the forecast looks so we have an animal that’s in a climate controlled area – it’s not hot, it’s not cold or wet,” says Swenson.

Swenson says the animal will undergo DNA testing to determine what it is and if it can stay in Moorhead. The city’s ordinance says wild animals can’t be kept as pets, but there are no clear rules when it comes to hybrids. So for now, at least part of the mystery continues.

Swenson says the city has received a lot of phone calls from residents offering to adopt the animal. He says he appreciates people’s compassion, but at this point that isn’t an option.

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