Woman Killed by Hybrid Wolf Pets

The body of a Westmoreland County woman was found mauled inside a pen where she kept a pack of nine hybrid wolves. Sandra L. Piovesan, 50, of Salem, was found inside the enclosure she kept in her backyard, where she raised the nine part-wolf and part-dog canines. Mrs. Piovesan's body was intact but had been partially eaten.?

Mrs. Piovesan’s daughter suspected something was wrong when her mother failed to show up for a 10 a.m. meeting with her Monday, state police said. The state police and the Westmoreland County Humane Society went to the home yesterday and euthanized all of the animals. Humane officers shot the animals with darts that injected a serum into the dogs that killed them. Mrs. Piovesan also had two Rottweilers, which were not euthanized and were taken to the humane society.

Most of the hybrid-canines weighed about 70 to 100 pounds and some were 7 to 8 years old. None of the animals was neutered or spayed and the animals had produced several litters of pups, humane officers said. There was some debate last night between agencies over what Mrs. Piovesan had done with the puppies. Humane officers said they would have to also destroy the animals’ offspring since the parents had eaten and possibly attacked a human. They said they knew the animals had several litters, but they did not know who had bought or received the puppies.

Elaine Gower, a humane officer with Action for Animals and the Westmoreland County Humane Society, said she had been to the home several times over the last four years after several neighbors complained about the animals, mostly about noise. Last summer, Mrs. Gower was called to the home after the pack killed a female wolf. She said the animals tend to get agitated in the summer, which is mating season. 

Mrs. Piovesan had all of the animals licensed as dogs and according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Web site, there are 35 licensed facilities that are permitted to either possess, breed and sell wolves and wolf-hybrids in Pennsylvania. Mrs. Piovesan’s was not among the 35 facilities. People who have wolves or wolf-hybrids must comply with their local municipality’s caging, public safety and record-keeping requirements.

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