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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The two suspected wolfdogs, originally thought to be rare “black coyotes,” found roaming the streets of Warwick earlier this month officially arrived at their new home late Thursday night.
The Red Riding Hood Rescue Project announced Friday that the 6-month-old sisters, renamed Wiley Coyote and Willow, were driven 13 hours from Rhode Island to Ohio by sanctuary volunteers.
The suspected wolf hybrids gained notoriety after the two were spotted near Oakland Beach late last month. The sisters spent several days on the lam, sauntering down streets, running through yards and playing with one another along the shoreline.
The wolfdogs were initially thought to be coyotes, until it was discovered that the two were intentionally set loose from a home on Powhatan Street. The two residents who intentionally released the wolfdogs have since been arrested and are facing animal cruelty and abandonment charges.
The dogs’ DNA is currently being tested to determine their exact breeds, though the Warwick Animal Shelter decided it would be best to send the dogs to the sanctuary because “it is not in their best interest to stay here” until the results come back.
The Red Riding Hood Rescue Project is a sanctuary specifically for wolfdogs. While it is legal to own wolf hybrids in Ohio, Rhode Island is one of 12 states where it’s against the law.
Wiley Coyote and Willow were released into their new enclosure, dubbed the “401 Run,” Friday morning, which was completely built by volunteers and includes a large doghouse, swimming pool, sun shades and dig guards.
The sanctuary has also installed a plaque highlighting the dogs’ journey to their new home.
“These were abused and neglected puppies in an illegal state for wolfdogs and they were met with love,” the plaque reads. “Rhode Island residents are responsible for getting them here.”
The sisters will be put up for adoption so long as their training and socialization is successful. If not, the dogs will receive lifetime care at the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is requesting donations to help support the dogs’ enrichment and cover the remaining travel expenses and costs to build the enclosure.
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