Wolves Once Again Prey on Ketchikan Dogs

MARCH TOO: Biologist urges keeping pets on a tight leash to avoid attacks

The Associated Press /Anchorage daily News / December 11, 2003

Boyd Porter, wildlife management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said he has received reports of two dogs killed by wolves and others injured.

"It seems to have really picked up this last week," he said.

The incidents mirror similar reports in March, when four dogs were killed by wolves.

The attacks this month appear to involve wolves in what Porter called "the town pack" and were centered north of Ketchikan, he said. He urged pet owners to keep dogs and cats within sight. People also should be cautious on hiking trails, he said.

Dr. Dan Walton, a veterinarian with the Ketchikan Veterinary Clinic, said he's treated three dogs with significant injuries from wolves in the past week. Usually, a dog that has an encounter with a wolf doesn't make it to the clinic, he said.

"The general recommendation is to have your dog on a leash when you're out and about." Also, "the advice applies to avoid (having them) hit by cars," he said.

The dogs injured by wolves recently were close to home, he said.

"These animals were fairly bold," he said, referring to the wolves. "Be aware that they'll come up in your yard."

Kona, an 8 ˆ-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever, was attacked by wolves Monday night, according to owners Dennis Neill and Faith Duncan. Duncan said the attack happened close to home -- at the foot of a neighbor's driveway.

"I was unloading the car, and I took my eyes off of her for two seconds," she said. "I called for her and she didn't come back, and then I heard wolf barks. I could hear different animals. I could hear her shrieking like she was getting attacked."

Duncan found Kona in the middle of the road and grabbed some towels to put around her. The dog, who apparently fought back, was wounded around her neck and ribs.

Kona was making progress at the veterinary clinic Tuesday.

Neill said he saw a wolf in their driveway on Friday morning.

Wolf packs typically include five to seven animals, though a pack frequently splits into smaller groups to hunt, Porter said.

Revillagigedo Island has an estimated 30 to 50 wolves, he said.

"With the snow up high, deer are probably down at lower elevations, and deer numbers are relatively low on this island anyway," the biologist said. "It's not surprising they're looking for secondary food sources."

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