U.S.

Family's 'wolf-hybrid' pet kills 3-month-old baby in Alabama

The term 'wolf-hybrid' is used to describe an animal bred by a domestic dog and a wolf, or a dog that has wolf ancestry.

A wolf hybrid animal
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A 3-month-old baby has died after being bitten by a "wolf-hybrid" that was kept as the family's pet, according to police in Alabama.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office said officers had responded to calls on Nov. 30 about an animal attack involving an infant at a home in Chelsea. The baby was transported to a local hospital via ambulance with a police escort. 

The infant was pronounced dead at the hospital due to injuries suspected to have been caused by the animal, police said. 

A wolf-hybrid, or wolf-dog hybrid, is an animal bred by a domestic dog and a wolf, or a dog that has wolf ancestry, according to the International Wolf Center

Per law enforcement's request, the animal was euthanized at the scene by a local veterinarian. Its body was transported to the Alabama State Diagnostics Laboratory in Auburn "for further examination and investigation," police said. 

Chelsea's Mayor Tony Picklesimer expressed condolences to the family, and issued a word of caution to wild pet owners.

"This is just unthinkable, that this could happen to this baby," Picklesimer said in a press briefing. "If you choose to own an exotic pet, what comes with that is additional responsibilities, to be sure that not only your family's safe, but your neighbors are safe."

The mayor asked for kindness toward the family on social media as they grieve.

Alabama is one of just four states that allow exotic animals to be kept as pets, according to Big Cat Rescue, an exotic animal sanctuary.

Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances that led to the baby's death.