Raised by Wolves | by Tim Flannery | The New York Review of Books
Distinguishing a dog from a wolf is not always straightforward, and because several US states have laws prohibiting the keeping of wolves or wolf/dog hybrids, expert testimony is often called upon to determine whether an animal is a dog or wolf. Pierotti has been called as a witness eighteen times; having kept wolf/dog hybrids and studied both wolves and dogs extensively, his testimony is highly valued. In many cases, he has been able to demonstrate that the canid in question has no admixture of wolf genes. But as he points out, there is a larger question here, for the laws assume that wolves are more dangerous than dogs, when in fact the reverse is true. In the US between 1979 and 1996, more than three hundred people were killed by 406 dogs, and only fifteen of these instances involved purported wolf/dog crosses, some of which, according to Pierotti, are “highly questionable.” The situation with purebred wolves is even more clear-cut, for there is not a single example of a wolf in nature killing a human in the entire history of North America.