20. One Big Happy Family
We all know the precious bond that is between a household pet and their family. Though they may be an animal, they are often considered just as much a family member as anyone else. That’s why when Capone escaped from his home, his family were relieved when animal control finally called to say that they found him. However, their happiness was short-lived when they learned that the officers didn’t plan let Capone return home, and their reason was shocking.
19. The Happy Trio
Tracy Abbato, the owner of Capone lives in the city of Aurora in Colorado, and she never thought something like this would happen to her. She shares her home with her three beloved children and their beloved trio of dogs. These aren’t just dog people–the family considers all three dogs to be equal family members, and love them tremendously. The dogs are named Mayhem, Brandy, and Capone.
17. Capone Gone Missing
When Capone went missing, they were all heartbroken, as well as extremely concerned for his safety. They noticed he had gotten out through a hole in their fence in February 2017. As soon as they noticed they were consumed with panic up until they got the call from the local Animal control that they had located a dog that appeared to fit the profile of their beloved Capone.
16. Capone Found!
Upon this amazing news that their four-legged family member was found, the family had no idea that their nightmare was just beginning. When the family arrived at the Aurora City Animal shelter that day with high hopes of being reunited with their lovely Capone, the officers sent them away. The reason why would come as a major shock to Tracy and her children.
15. Breaking the Law
According to the animal control officers, Capone was considered an exotic animal that fell under certain protection laws set by the state and could not be kept as a domesticated animal. Tracy explained what the officers said to her in an interview with AOL in March 2017, “They say he is a hybrid-wolf now and don’t want to release [him] back to us because he is an exotic animal,”. According to animal control officers, this meant that she had broken the law by harboring a dangerous exotic animal. The family was in complete and utter shock, as this was their baby, and by no means did they think he was dangerous.
14. An Exotic Animal
The animal control officers reactions and accusations came as a surprise to Tracy. Tracy was under the belief that Capone was just a rescue domesticated dog ever since she had first set eyes on her beloved pup some ten years ago. She had adopted him from the Adams County Animal Shelter, where staff told her that he was German shepherd mix. She had had no reason to doubt them because Capone never acted any differently than a normal house pet. Even Tracy’s vet told her all those years that Capone was a German shepherd mix. How could this happen?
13. Not the Capone She Knew
Capone had been nothing but a kind, sweet-natured, and loving domesticated pet to Tracy, the other dogs, and to the rest of her family. She knew in her heart that Capone was not the wild dangerous beast that animal control was making him out to be. In fact, Capone was so mellow that he would often curl up with Tracy’s children to go to sleep like most dogs do. The family was still trying to wrap their heads around what to do next.
12. A Wolf in Dogs Clothing?
“I didn’t even suspect him of being a wolf,” Tracy told Time in March 2017, “He’s not aggressive,” she added. “Capone is a very mellow, laid back dog. He’s a typical dog. He’s a family member. He doesn’t bother anybody”, Tracy told the press, trying to get people to understand that her beloved house hold animal was not a threat and never was. It felt like she was screaming for help and no one was listening. The panic stricken mother knew she had to do something, and fast.
11. DNA Testing
To get to the bottom of Capone’s origins, the animal control officers ordered a DNA test. However, while they waited for the result, the dog would have to remain in possession of the local animal control authorities. The family waited and waited until it had been over 5 weeks before they had heard anything back from the test.
10. Missing Capone
With each passing day and each passing week, it took more of a toll on the girls and the rest of Tracy’s family than anyone thought possible. It was as if another one of her children was missing from her. “It’s hard for me,” Tracy admitted in an interview with Fox 31 in March 2017, “It’s hard for my kids. He’s a family member. We’ve had him for almost 10 years. We miss him.” It seemed unethical to do such emotional damage to a family who had peacefully had the dog for more than ten years.
9. Kept from Family
The prolonged absence and the uncertain future of their beloved Capone were especially tough for her three children. “It’s been really painful,” her 11-year-old daughter Ciara told Fox 31. She continued to voice her distress to the news station stating, “I hope they let us keep him because he’s really special to me.” With not knowing if they would ever get their beloved family member back, it was almost impossible to think about Capone’s absence from the family.
8. The Wolf Sanctuary
There was no guarantee that animal control officers would even return Capone to his rightful owners, regardless of the test. If the DNA test proved that he was indeed part-wolf, then the city could choose to relocate Capone to a wolf sanctuary. If that wasn’t a suitable option for the city, they could even consider euthanasia if they failed to find a suitable shelter. Due to Capone’s possibility of being part wolf, that made most shelters very wary of taking him in. The family was now in a complete panic, as the idea of putting Capone down was something they were unwilling to consider.
7. Facing Certain Death
When Tracy learned that the animal control officers were possibly considering exterminating her beloved Capone, she broke down with emotion, “It’s heartbreaking. He’s like a child to me. That’s like saying we’re going to put your kid to sleep. They become family members to you. Anybody who has a dog understands.” Being a dog owner myself, it’s appalling to even let your mind go there.
6. Facing Fines
When approached about the Abbatos’ case, Aurora City spokesperson, Michael Bryant, told Time, “It’s not just a wolf-hybrid issue by itself.” In fact, animal control officers also believed that Capone was an aggressive animal. As a result of all of this, Tracy was accused of failing to secure a pet license or to vaccinate him against rabies. She then faced multiple fines from the city for allowing Capone to escape and run loose as a result of these accusations.
5. Responsible Pet Owner
Tracy found all of these accusations absurd and outright wrong as they only arose after the DNA test was suggested. If he was never tested as a wolf, such accusations would have never been pushed. Tracy maintained that she was a responsible pet owner, “I don’t understand,” she told AOL. “This dog has a loving, caring home. People who abuse dogs, leave them outside in two-degree weather, how do they still have their dogs?” This begs the question, “Are city officials here to help us, or harm us?”
4. The Power of Go Fund Me
So while she and her family eagerly awaited the verdict of Capone’s DNA test, Tracy who was at her emotional wits end with all of the back and forth with the city, decided to turn to the internet for some support. She decided to set up a crowdfunding campaign in hopes to bring some attention to the injustice she was facing. Using GoFundMe, the mom-of-three wrote that she wanted to bring Capone home. But to do so, she needed the help of her fellow animal lovers.
3. Legal Fees, Shelter Costs, and More
Tracy wrote on her Go Fund Me page her story and expressed that she wishes for Capone to be a part of her family once again. “I just want my baby to be back at home with his loving family where he belongs,” Tracy explained. “I will do anything to make that happen. This money is going towards legal fees, a six-foot fence and shelter costs to help get Capone home.”
2. Overwhelming Support
Tracy was looking for $10,000 in order to fund Capone’s entire return and refute the legal fees from the city. With the power of animal lovers across the Internet, Tracy was able to do just that. She raised over half of that sum, within weeks. Dozens of people also sent her messages on the crowdfunding page – and the majority of them were in support of the Abbatos.
1. Family Reunited Once Again!
” My husband just came home and told me this story/nightmare. I cannot believe how any human being can think or do this to a beautiful dog which is 10 years old,” wrote Brian Gutierrez. “I pray you get your baby back home.” In the end, the DNA test proved once and for all that Capone was not a wolf hybrid. Later, the local animal control officers returned him home to the Abbatos. To celebrate the good news, the dog’s family posted a picture of their joyful reunion on GoFundMe, and they couldn’t have looked happier. Animal lovers across the Internet rejoiced in reuniting such a loving family with their beloved Capone.