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Capone controversy leads to invitation to see real wolf dogs

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GILPIN COUNTY, Colo. -- Wednesday cannot come soon enough for a family who is expected to pick up their dog held by the Aurora Animal Shelter over concerns it was part wolf.

The Abbato family from Aurora said a DNA test has come back showing Capone has zero markers for a wolf.

The controversy led to an invitation for the FOX31 Problem Solvers to see real wolf dogs.

The Oden family has owned wolf dogs for five years. They have also sold several litters to people across the country.

They wanted to show wolf hybrids are not the big, bad wolves some governments make them out to be.

"This is our home. This is our dogs' yard," said Pam Oden, with Zion’s Den.

But these dogs, in cities like Aurora, are considered exotic -- and therefore illegal.

“I don’t really consider these guys exotic. But that's what they are considered is exotic animals," she said.

They are wolf dogs. The Odens have seven of them -- a mother and father and their offspring.

"My dogs, I consider them upper- mid-content. Zion is 70 percent wolf. Audubon about 80 percent," Oden said.

And the rest is dog, Alaskan Malamute.

"Really, I think that that’s one of the things I try to do, is they've gotten a bad rap. You know, they really have. They can be the sweetest, nicest, most loving pets," Oden said.

But that can be the opposite impression some have of the animals -- like Aurora, which bans them.

"I'm not sure I necessarily believe in bans, but I believe more in common sense," Oden said.

She says governments should focus on a dog's temperament.

Aurora has been holding what it thought was a wolf hybrid after he jumped his family's fence nearly five weeks ago.

But his family expects the shelter will release him because a DNA test shows he is not part wolf.

"I don’t think that these dogs are for everyone. But I think they are for more people than they think they are," Oden said.

She said the animals need room to roam, plenty of attention from their owners and socialization -- especially when they’re puppies.

Oden said it comes down to how you raise them.

"If you are aggressive to that dog, he will be aggressive to you and everyone around it," Oden said.

These pets are relaxed, content and loyal. Though the puppies are not quite ready to venture in public, they take on one wolf trait -- avoiding people.

The city of Aurora said it amended its wild, exotic or dangerous animal ordinance in 2002 to add language specific for hybrid animals because of public safety reasons.

The city of Denver said it has a similar ordinance but it does not specify hybrids.