Police: Wolf stolen from Holtsville ecology center

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HOLTSVILLE -

Police say a hybrid wolf was stolen from the Brookhaven Wildlife and Ecology Center in Holtsville, and now search efforts are underway for the animal and whoever took her.

Nakita, a 7-year-old female wolf-dog mix, was taken from her enclosure sometime after the site closed at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Workers arrived Monday at 7 a.m. to find Nakita gone, and holes were discovered in three fences.

Suffolk police say while it's still very early in their investigation, it's clear that the person or people who stole the animal are very familiar with the facility. They say in Nakita's night enclosure were certain gates that had to be lifted, and it required "intimate knowledge" of the facility to be able to operate them.

Nakita had been illegally kept as a pet until being surrendered to the ecology site last summer. Officials says Nakita has always been friendly to employees and visitors at the site.

A statement from Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro said in part, "While Nakita has not exhibited aggressive tendencies toward people, including her caregivers at the Ecology Site, we are asking the public not to approach her, if seen. We are extremely concerned for Nakita's welfare; we have more than 100 animals residing at the Animal Preserve and she was clearly targeted."

The Suffolk SPCA is offering a $5,000 reward in the case. Anyone with information is asked to call Suffolk Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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