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The puppies of a wolf that mated with a domestic dog will be tracked down, shot, and killed, authorities in the southeastern German state of Bavaria announced.

Officials became aware of the wolf-dog hybrids in Lower Franconia, the northwestern edge of Bavaria. German law requires that these hybrid animals be shot and killed to protect the local wolf population.

Wolf-dog hybrids are part wolf and part dog. Interbreeding is possible because domesticated dogs are descended from wolves. In many places, such as the US, wolf-dog hybrids are kept as pets. Estimates from the University of California, Davis found that there are around 300,000 of these hybrid animals in the US.

The German Federal Nature Conservation Act requires that hybrid puppies be shot. The mixing of the two can lead to genetic changes that could harm the gene pool.

Since the hybrids are over three months old, authorities opt for “lethal removal,” but when they find hybrids that are smaller than three months old, they will attempt to catch or shoot the animals. Authorities say that hybrid puppies are not able to adapt to permanent confinement in an enclosure and would suffer in captivity.

We encourage everyone thinking of getting a pet to only adopt instead of shopping. Read more resources about adopting animals on One Green Planet, including 7 Reasons to Adopt Your Next Furry Best Friend, 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Adopt a Pet, and These Heartwarming Before and After Pictures of Adopted Rescue Animals Will Make Your Day! Read tips for pet adoptions and what to consider before adopting an animal. We recommend using these apps to find shelter dogs near you!

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