Man says Pennypack wolf-dog is his missing pup

Photo earlier this year of Levi, an escaped timberwolf-malamute mix that owner Kasey Lyons believes may be the wolf-dog seen at Pennypack Park.
Photo earlier this year of Levi, an escaped timberwolf-malamute mix that owner Kasey Lyons believes may be the wolf-dog seen at Pennypack Park. (Kasey Lyons)
Posted: June 28, 2012

For Valentine's Day, 21-year-old Kasey Lyons bought a wolf-dog hybrid in Florida for his then-fiancee. They named the 4-month-old puppy Levi, which is Lyons' middle name.

A month later, while visiting Lyons' mother in Philadelphia, the couple lost Levi in Pennypack Park. Lyons placed ads on Craigslist and put up posters in the area, hoping to find the timber wolf-Alaskan Malamute mix. As time passed, hope of finding Levi faded.

On Tuesday night, Lyons learned about a possible hybrid wandering around Pennypack Park. He saw a photo of the animal on Philly.com, accompanying a story on the search for a suspected wolf-dog in the park. As far as he was concerned, that was Levi.

"From the picture, it looked just like my dog," he said, "and I don't think there are too many hybrids around."

On Wednesday evening, Lyons searched a section of Pennypack Park along the 8600 block of Algon Avenue in Rhawnhurst, where a possible hybrid had been spotted repeatedly over several months.

Lyons brought along Tiny, a yellow Labrador-American bulldog mix that he said bonded with Levi for the month or so they were together. Lyons also had Levi's old leash.

He forced his way through dense, thorny brush, hoping that he might hear Levi's distinctive howl or that Tiny would catch his scent.

Or maybe Levi would come to Tiny.

But the only things they attracted were neighborhood residents and curious visitors.

After more than an hour, Lyons had to leave because he had to rely on a cousin, Nikki Vallette, 24, who drove him to the park and had plans for the rest of the night.

He vowed to return at 8 a.m. to resume the search.

Lyons was living in Florida when he got the hybrid puppy in early February. Around March 13, he and Brittany Hopkin were leash-training Levi when, according to Lyons, she let him loose and the hybrid ran off.

The couple have since broken up. He moved back with his family in Northeast Philadelphia and she has relocated to Georgia with plans to return to Florida, he said.

"I want to get it back to her and she can take him back to Florida," he said. "I made her a promise I'd find him."

Whether he could do that before local or state authorities was another question.

In Pennsylvania, you need a special permit to own a hybrid wolf-dog. Lyons does not have one, though he said he had bought the dog legally, for $400, in Florida and has papers and receipts.

Jerry Czech, a wildlife conservation officer with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said the wolf-dog must be forfeited.

If it's not Levi, then the mystery continues.


Contact Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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