In March, residents of Algon Avenue in Rhawnhurst first noticed a wolf-like creature grazing in nearby Pennypack Park, but until recently it was just water-cooler talk.
“It seems very tame. The only time I was worried for people is if they’re going up to it,” said resident Leanne Ticconi. “I don't know what they’re thinking going up to it.”
Neighbors yesterday were joined by a small crowd of media and inquisitive onlookers who slowed down in their cars, walked along the block or even brought food to get a glimpse of what officials are calling a wolf-dog hybrid. State gaming officials were called in the past week, but there have been no reports of attacks on humans or pets.
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“It just got out of hand through the public, through the media,” said David Ticconi. “There’s no little pets or children missing.”
“If it was up to us, we’d keep it there,” added neighbor Darlene Torres. “We don’t feed it, we just watch it.”
The animal is grey and about the size of a German shepherd, roughly three or four feet tall, neighbors said. Recently, it has come into the residential area and even been spotted going through some residents’ trash. Some have even speculated that there is more than one.
“As they leave, one pops out over here, one pops out over there,” David Ticconi said, pointing to a wooded area.
While deer and other animal sightings are pretty common in the Northeast, the news was still unusual for some.
“We were anticipating seeing it, thought it would be intriguing,” said Jean Geiger, who rides her bicycle in the area but had not yet seen the creature. “I would love to photograph it, put it on Facebook. It’s some good news for a change.”
Tranquilizer hot dog fails to work
In addition to state game officials, workers from the Wolf Sanctuary in Lititz have been on the scene trying to catch the creature with a combination of tranquilizers and leashes.
Monday, wildlife specialists gave the creature a hot dog laced with tranquilizers, but it still managed to retreat into the woods. They were expected to return last night to make another attempt.
Officials said the animal likely belonged to someone and escaped or was released. Once the creature is caught and its DNA tested to determine its origin, it will be turned over to a state-licensed facility.