Angola’s Maximum Security Wolf-Dogs Patrolling!

Wolf-Dogs On Patrol!

Guard Duty At Angola Maximum Security Prison! 

The consequences of mismanagement of dogs and irresponsible ownership often due to a lack of general knowledge of animal care and ignorance about the breed they own can be very serious, with the potential to lead to euthanasia for the offending animal.

Angola's Wolf Dogs

Credit: Rush Jagoe for the Wall Street Journal

Wolf-dog “Chief “of British Colombia wolf and German shepherd ancestry is a prime example of when things go wrong and an animal is allowed to get out of control.

According to local residents Chief would frequently “escape from his owners’ property and terrorize them.” A Pointe Coupee Parish ‘Animal Control Ordinance’ states that: “All dogs must be confined to an owner’s property, or secured on a leash when they are not.”

The result of these allegations was a court order for his destruction for aggressive behaviour. Chief was lucky. His story made the papers and was seen by state Prison Officials at the 18,000-acre maximum security prison known as Angola -the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections State Penitentiary at Angola. Their request to use Chief as a guard dog at Angola was approved, and an order releasing him from custody was signed by Judge James Best of 18th Judicial District Court..

Angola’s Prison Warden

“When we saw this dog in the paper, we thought it would be a shame to euthanize it.” ~Deputy Warden Bruce Dodd .

Angola which has 5,300 inmates. More than half who have been convicted of killing someone, and three quarters whom are serving life sentences without parole.

The state prison has developed a program which since 2011 has used wolf-dogs such as Chief deployed at night to patrol within perimeter fencing encircling the prison’s individual camps. The wolf dogs regularly guard at least three of the seven camps that make up the complex.

Combined with the use of surveillance cameras, the program has helped secure the prison following personnel layoffs related to recent budget cuts 105 out of 1,200 officers have been cut and 35 of the 42 guard towers now stand empty on the 18,000-acre prison grounds. Some states have chosen to replace them with cameras and motion sensors.

“I will use anything I can, it costs $20,000 a day to catch an escapee. It may take me 100 people to cover the streams and creeks and roads. I have to pay all those people overtime. The wolf dogs are a strong psychological deterrent. The wolf ate Grandma,” ~ Warden Burl Cain

They also save money. “The average correctional officer at Angola earns about $34,000 a year, By comparison the canine program, which includes about 80 dogs—the wolf hybrids along with other breeds for other tasks— costs about $60,000 annually for medical care, supplies and food.” ~ prison spokesman

The Breeding Programme

“We actually breed wolf hybrids here and raise them. Chief’s aggressive behaviour would make him a perfect fit among the dozen or more wolf dog hybrids already on duty at the prison. That’s the purpose of them. We don’t want them to be vicious killers, but to be aggressive. They become a security measure.” ~Dodd

Before being allowed out on patrol Chief will undergo training with a handler.

Prison Dogs on Patrol in Angola2

Credit: Rush Jagoe for the Wall Street Journal

However according to Chief’s original owner, he has lived with herself and her son, who he was purchased for at 5 weeks old, and has been raised and cared for by, and whilst she is very happy Chief is now off death row, says;

“He’s not going to do well without us. We’re his family. I think he’s going to be really, really stressed. We keep him inside our air-conditioned home. I feed him oatmeal for breakfast. You think they’re going to feed him that?” ~ Vicky Smith

The understanding between Angola and the court, says all of the prison’s dogs are “well kept and given top veterinarian care.”

“Chief is harmless and has never “bit or hurt anyone. It’s not right what they’re doing. I was going to sell my house and move out of the parish to keep my dog. I want my dog back, but once he goes to Angola I don’t think I’ll get him.” ~ Vicky Smith

Notable Wolf-dogs of the Breeding Programme

  • Full-blooded timber wolf -Sanak, (Su-nack,) is the mother of the vast majority of Angola’s Wolf-dogs, and her current mate, Zeus-the German Shepherd Dog is kennelled next to her.

This is Mr. Cain’s second attempt at developing a breeding programme after a first and unsuccessful experimental breeding program in 2005. This had involved breeding Lobo – a Mexican wolf with dogs to produce tracker dogs to re-capture escapee prisoners. But they proved unpredictable and had little interest in protecting their handlers. 2008’s Hurricane Gustav freed Lobo to flee after a damaged tree smashed into his kennel.

  • Wolf is a 120-pound amber eyed canine cross between a wolf and a malamute:

“Wolf is the biggest of the hybrids. He showed his speed and predatory nature recently when a wild turkey flew into the pen; he caught and killed it before it could get back out.” ~Warden Burl Cain.

Training and Patrolling

“Each animal has about 330 yards of territory and can cover it ‘very quickly’. The animals mark their territory when put on duty.”

“Nobody yet has tried to overpower or outrun them. Inmates are keenly aware of the four-legged security force prowling the perimeter.” ~ Lou Cruz, 55 years old, serving life for a murder he committed in Jefferson Parish near Gretna in 1981.

You might run but they’re going to catch you.” ~ Daryl Aucoin, Inmate dog handler

Prison Dogs on Patrol in Angola Credit: Rush Jagoe for the Wall Street Journal

”How do you train a wolf dog? Very carefully and with lots of hot dogs. It takes a lot of time. Wolves are like other canines. They’re pack animals. And they are slow to trust Unlike other dogs, which might listen to any number of handlers, the wolf dogs “will listen to only one of us,” ~ Capt. Robert Tyler, the primary trainer.

“I’m just glad for the dog. It’s a beautiful ending and the community got some relief. The dog is going to provide good service and be well taken care of.”~ Judge James Best of 18th Judicial District Court after signing the order to release Chief to Angola.


Wall Street Journal

Westside Bureau

U.S. News

39 thoughts on “Angola’s Maximum Security Wolf-Dogs Patrolling!

  1. Hallo liebe Wölfe wieder ein guter Bericht,von der Tresor eines Wolfhundes und sehr Interessant,sind ja auch so schöne Tiere.Ich wünsche dir eine gute glückliche neue Woche,ich hoffe es geht dir gut.Grüße und Freundschaft.Gislinde

    1. Hallo! Und ich danke Ihnen Gislinde 🙂
      Ich freue mich, Sie genießen diese ein, sind die Wölfe Hunde sehr spezielle
      Ich bin gut durch, mit Weiterbildung beschäftigt
      und eine Beurteilung kommenden Montag 🙂
      Frühling liegt in der Luft! Dass immer hebt die Stimmung
      Ich hoffe, Sie haben eine schöne Woche zu
      Wolfie Umarmungen 🙂

  2. I am glad that Chief will be getting a second chance at life but I do wish people would leave well enough alone and not breed the hybrids. Fascinating article and I’m sure there are many who would love to own a hybrid but I doubt that the majority understand quite what they are in for.

  3. Hi Wolfie, very interesting article, and how very true that you must know the animal you attempt to train, it was the first lesson I always taught my pupils, and was taught to me. The characteristics appertaining to the breed and the individual personal character of the dog, Every dog I’ve owned and trained has been different, with different needs and having a personal ‘ key’ that opens the character, the finding of that key is the path to successful training..
    I’ve had GSD’s that were soft and sensitive, and one that was well and truly Alpha, plus inbetweens. Collies don’t usually have as much range. BUT they still need to be understood.

    1. It’s a shame many of these wolf dog owners don’t have someone such as yourself with a wealth of knowledge and experience to teach them and educate them – preferably before they run out and purchase an animal they have no prior knowledge or understanding of… Lovely to see you again! 🙂

    2. Arlene…. “Every dog I’ve owned and trained has been different, with different needs and having a personal ‘ key’ that opens the character, the finding of that key is the path to successful training.”

      Spot on… 🙂

      Timid one, Great post as ever 🙂

  4. I feel really terrible that Chief was taken from his original family but I am very happy to know he will not be killed. It’s not often that a prison actually steps in to save a life…bizarre, sad, happy and very interesting story, Wolfie! Thank you.

  5. Dog’s are our best friend as long as the individual is friend to society. Shepards are excellent work dogs and provide a natural willingess to protect humans if so trained. Good reading and photos Wolfie.

  6. Very interesting Icewolf. I’m not entirely certain I’m keen on these ‘breeding programs’ however… we seem to like playing God, don’t we? At least the wolf wasn’t put to sleep, which is a good thing.

    1. I don’t particularly see a problem with the breeding programs but I do with some of the people who choose to own one without understanding their special needs. Their needs also vary according to how high wolf content they are. The more wolf they have in them the greater the risk of causing problems for them through ignorance. I imagine Chief was not especially high wolf content and more dog as wolves do not behave in the aggressive fashion he was accused of. Nor would they make good choices for the prison work as they are timid around humans and this would also be the case for a higher content wolf dog.

  7. An interesting story all turned out well for Chief, he has a good job and probably a good retirement pension! And I am sure he will be relieved he is not doing porridge or even eating it for breakfast any more but nice jucy steaks I don’t doubt. These lively intelegent dogs need training and exercise to prevent boredom I feel sure he is in a better home


    1. Lol :D…yes Susan…no porridge for Chief! lol 😉 I too think he’s in a better home, where he will probably not feel the need to show the aggression he was being accused of in his previous home. With a proper job to do and a chance of being understood by experienced handlers I suspect he will turn out to be a really great dog and a real asset 🙂

  8. I’m glad that Chief is getting a chance to have a life.
    But I don’t understand why they are breeding wolf and dog hybrids to guard the prison. There are a number of dog breeds that are easily up to the task and would be easier to train.

    1. They are far more capable than their human counterparts! Their instincts are likely more finely honed and ideal for purpose and whilst other dog breeds may well be just as capable they also make much better pets and companions in so far as they don’t have all the complications of being part wolf with all the wild instincts that go with that detail.As these wolf dogs are being bred for better or worse, better they are bred for something useful and constructive that is also helping out in a difficult economic time as an added bonus, than being badly handled by inexperience owners with no idea about their needs 🙂

  9. A well explored and detailed posting Icywolfy
    I see that you are still offering excellent work
    and I must say that I have enjoyed this one 🙂

    Have a fun Thursday 🙂 xxx

  10. Hallo wünsche dir einen schönen Abend,und da die Woche schon wieder um ist,ein schönes glückliches weekend.Die Zeit sie Rast nur so.Gruß und Freundschaft.Gislinde

    1. Auch Sie mein lieber Freund Gislinde
      Der Schnee ist auf dem Weg wieder in UK
      Ich hoffe, es ist nicht das gleiche für Sie in Cologne!
      Ich wünsche Ihnen eine schöne Woche meiner lieben Freundin

      Ich kann einige Ihrer letzten Artikel verpasst haben …
      Es ist nicht nur Sie!
      Der Leser wird nicht richtig funktioniert
      und meine E-Mail-Aktuelles sind in meinem Müll-Ordner verschwinden!
      Ich werde versuchen, aufzuholen 🙂
      Wolfie Umarmungen 🙂

  11. A happier ending that most dogs who are condemned as a wrong breed dog… We humans have much to answer for… Seems I have been remiss Wolfie and missed this post in my emailing list.. Sorry its taken a while to get around to giving you my own hoooowwwwllls here..
    Keep those wolfie paws warm Wolfie.. Rather chilly night here with blizzards blowing even as I type.. xox

  12. I have personal experience with wolves and I can tell you that I wouldn’t want to meet a ‘wolf-dog’.. can’t trust ’em!.. trust a wolf? on the west coast??.. hell yeah.. they will mess with your mind but they won’t hurt you.. but wolf-dogs??.. that is an abomination.. (this is how the ‘wolf’ got a bad name in Russia and India.. (breeding with dogs.. ).. bad scene..

    1. Thank you for your extensive visit! It’s really awesome to see you here and great that you’ve chosen to comment too 🙂 Comments are lovely! lol 😉 You know…Russian Wolf Dogs are working very effectively on the borders as border guards… I think maybe it depends on the wolf dog combi’s and temperaments of both as to the final outcome – as with dogs. The higher the wolf content the more timid etc the wolf dog and they wouldn’t make good working dogs…but in the wrong hands breeding such combinations does seem like a seriously bad idea…Wolf dogs need experienced and understanding handlers/owners and are better kept in pairs as they have a strong pack instinct and often a strong prey drive, but in the right hands… I’m curious though – what happened in Russia and India with the breeding with dogs to give the ‘wolf’ a bad name? I am a very curious wolf!!

      1. Well in Europe, Russia and India the wolf-dog cross is universally feared because of their lack of fear of man and their predisposition to attack man.. (full wolves almost invariably never attack man).. also historically in these areas dogs and wolf-dogs haunted the battle grounds and ate the dead.. so to me that accounts for the loathing of wolves in Europe and Russia.. in India the wolf-dog makes going to the garbage dump really dangerous since that is where they lurk.. ;o)

      2. That was very interesting…thanks 🙂 I’ve never heard of wolf dogs attacking people like that though I suppose the dog-side might be more pre-disposed to such behaviour if the wolf content was of low percentage. But I really didn’t know they were loathed in Russia! I wouldn’t deny that I hadn’t known of wolf-dogs in India full stop! Makes sense they would be aggressive if they were defending food sources etc but again that sound more dog behaviour so far as humans are concerned. It would take a very hungry wolf to behave in such a way to humans or even to be in the vicintiy of them in that way! Food for thought there thanks 🙂

      3. There was ONE alleged wolf attack in BC.. at Hot Springs Cove on the west coast of Vancouver Island.. I’m suspicious of this alleged attack.. the kayaker that was attacked (in his sleeping bag) didn’t want to report the attack!.. he didn’t want the wolves harmed.. Yes wolves have a bad reputation in Russia and Europe.. in fact when I read the ‘evidence’ of wolf attacks they don’t sound like the wolves I know here in BC.. that is why I suspect that they are ‘dog-wolves’.. and dog-wolves are like humans.. they can’t be trusted.. ha..ha.ha.ha…

      4. Well yes! That logic – “dog wolves are like humans…” does seem to make very good sense lol 😉 I’m getting the impression here that dog-wolves are something of an insult to us Wolves! It’s a shame wolves have such a bad reputation in Russia and Europe…I find it hard to believe they really are attacking people!The one at Hot Springs Cove you mention does sound very dodgy!

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