Elderly Woman Found Living Among Dozens of Feral Wolf-Dog Hybrids in North Carolina

A disturbing discovery among a pack of feral wolf-dog hybrids led to the rescue of an elderly woman and the arrest of one man.

The situation unfolded last month when the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina launched an investigation into alleged animal cruelty and elder abuse.

The investigation soon took a dark turn.

“During the investigation,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post on June 26, “it was determined through observations, interviews, and medical evaluations that an elderly female was living inside a residence with over 40 Wolf-Hybrid dogs and sustained injuries that led to a welfare check being conducted at the residence where the female resided.

“Deputies found the inside and the outside conditions of the residence to be uninhabitable for people and dogs.


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“The dogs inside the residence were not social and were later determined to be feral.”

The feral dogs were all euthanized on the order of a judge based on their condition and the safety of the surrounding area.

WGHP-TV in High Point, North Carolina, reported that Melvin “Sonny” Berry was arrested by deputies on June 25 on one count of felony domestic elder abuse, 20 animal cruelty charges and a local ordinance charge.

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Those working in local animal resource centers were shocked by the discovery.

“I will say this is probably the worst I’ve ever seen it as far as hoarding cases,” Maria Wood, a community resources animal navigator in Forsyth County, told WXII-TV in Winston-Salem about the situation’s place in a worrying trend.

“They’re left and right, they’re popping up here and there,” she said.

The complexities of this case were compounded by the type of animal being hoarded. Wolf-dog hybrids take specialized handling and care, something many people are not capable of providing.

According to Wood, it is illegal to own a wolf-dog hybrid in the state of North Carolina.


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The hybrids’ size and temperament present a double threat in certain situations.

The parentage of these mixes, part domesticated canine and part wild animal, can lead to unpredictable and dangerous behavior, especially when neglected, according to the International Wolf Center.

Berry is scheduled for a court appearance on July 23.

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