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DNA tests prove suspected wolf hybrid is just a family dog

AURORA, Colo. -- The family fighting to get their pet back from a Colorado Animal Control says DNA tests prove their dog is not a wolf hybrid.

"We got some good news last night," Tracy Abbato said Sunday. "Capone is not wolf at all. He doesn't have an ounce of wolf in him."

FOX31 first reported the case, which has made headlines around the world.

The Abbato family adopted Capone from the Adams County Animal Shelter 10 years ago. Shelter officials had classified him as a German shepherd mix. The family's veterinarian said the same thing.

But when Capone escaped from the Abbato family's yard in February, Aurora Animal Control picked him up and officials classified him as part wolf based on his mannerisms, behavior and physical characteristics.

Officials refused to return Capone to his family until DNA tests could prove whether he is a wolf hybrid. Capone has been held at the shelter for almost five weeks.

On top of that, Abbato faces violations of animal running at large, keeping an aggressive animal and keeping an exotic/wild animal.

The family is fighting the case, but when they went to court last week, the hearing was delayed until Wednesday.

Now, Abbato says the DNA test results prove what she knew all along.

"I want everyone to know he is not a wolf at all," Abbato said. "We all knew it from the start."

Even so, Abbato will have to wait a few more days to bring Capone back home.

"Because of pending litigation, we have to wait for the judge to make the decision," Abbato said.

That decision could come at the hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

"Poor guy. ... I don't know what he was going through in there, but I'm sure he'll be so excited to come home and see us and his furry brothers," Abbato said. "I just want him to come home now. It's time for him to come home."

Abbato said the battle has been emotionally draining, but she's been receiving encouragement from dog lovers around the country and around the world.

"It's heartbreaking because he does not understand what is going on," she said. "If he knew, he would know he has hundreds of thousands of people supporting and fighting for him to get home."

Abbato said she was stunned by how many people reached out to support her family.

"I knew people loved dogs, but I didn't know this many people love dogs," she said. "It's amazing. Look at our petition and GoFundMe. ... There are so many more dog lovers out there than I thought."

More than 21,000 people had signed the Change.org petition as of Sunday afternoon.

Capone's story has been reported by Fox News, Time and the Daily Mail.