PORTLAND (AP) – An animal in Gray that was exposed to rabies is scheduled to be euthanized, despite emotional pleas by its owner to spare its life.

A judge in Portland ruled Monday that the animal, named Brewser, is likely to be part wolf. State officials argued that wolf-hybrids exposed to rabies must be destroyed because there’s no proven rabies vaccine for them and the incubation period for hybrids is unknown.

Brewser’s owner, Mark Kenneth Sanborn, offered to quarantine his pet or confine him at the Kennebec Valley Humane Society. “That’s how much he means to me,” Sanborn said. “I love that dog that much. I’ll do anything to save his life.”

Brewser was removed from Sanborn’s home after another animal in the household died last month of rabies.

On Monday, District Court Judge Paul Eggert decided that given the absence of a DNA analysis or a definitive physical examination, it was slightly more likely than not that Brewser is part wolf. The judge said the responsible course is to follow state rules for wolf-hybrids exposed to rabies.

Sanborn has the option to appeal the judge’s decision to put the animal down.

Sanborn told the court that he bought Brewser from a woman in Lincoln who advertised him as a husky mix. His other pet, Yukon, was the offspring of Brewser and a neighbor’s purebred shepherd, Sanborn said.

A clinic had diagnosed Yukon’s illness as Lyme disease, but the same veterinarian mentioned the possibility of rabies only after Yukon’s condition worsened, Sanborn said. Yukon died soon afterward and test results came back positive for rabies.

The rabies virus is transmitted through saliva. Dr. Kathleen Gensheimer, the state epidemiologist, said Brewser would have been exposed to Yukon’s saliva even though he had not shown symptoms of rabies.


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