Sunday, November 24, 2013

Game Warden Files--Off to buy a Wolf

There has always been a fascination with exotic pets. Folks go to all kinds of lengths to have things that no one else has--legal or not. For a while the hot item was wolves. New York's regulations prohibited the possession of wolves and hybrid wolf-dogs.

Hamilton County ECO Bob Gosson contacted me one day and asked if I'd be interested in going under cover to buy a wolf puppy. A family had just moved to his area and had started advertising wolf puppies for sale. He came up with a scheme to get me in and buy a puppy. We borrowed a body wire and recording unit from the State Police to record the transaction. We also borrowed a female Trooper to pose as my wife. We made an appointment to view the dogs and put the plan in motion.

On the appointed morning, I picked the Trooper up in my personal car then met Bob to get fitted with the body wire. Bob took his personal pickup down the dead end road by the suspect's house with the recording unit and we headed in for the buy, or to at least document the possession of prohibited animals. The Trooper and I had figured out a pretty good story line by the time we got there and we played the parts pretty well. The purveyors of wolf puppies went out of their way to tell us all about the blood lines of their dogs telling us "wolf, wold, wolf" repeatedly. Over and over the wife, who was obviously the primary actor in this wolf factory, kept apologizing for the condition of the kennel, telling us that they weren't "set up" yet.  She must have said it a half-dozen times. When the Trooper and I had left and were headed back to her station, we both started laughing over the the repeated "set up" comments. We both had thought the same thing--she had no idea how well she was getting set up.

After listening to the tape and writing our statements we figured out all the charges. A couple nights later, Bob and I went back to issue the tickets. The woman kept looking at me strangely and finally asked if we'd met somewhere before. Well, yes...we had met before, right there in her driveway as a matter of fact. When realization dawned, she started to laugh. We issued the tickets and parted amicably.

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