JACKSON COUNTY, Colo. — Two dogs died in wolf attacks this week within four miles of each other in the North Park area of Jackson County, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).
The wolves, which migrated to Colorado about four years ago, killed a livestock working dog on Monday. The next day, wildlife officials responded to call of a severely injured pet dog attacked near a residence. The dog was euthanized due to the extent of its injuries, said CPW spokesman Travis Duncan.
Wildlife officers found wolf tracks, and GPS collar data showed that wolves were in the area of both attacks, Duncan said.
Wolves migrated into Colorado in 2019 for the first time in decades and bred six pups in Jackson County in 2021. The pack has been responsible for multiple livestock deaths.
CPW also recently sought public comment on its draft plan for wolf reintroduction in the state – mandated by the approval of Proposition 114 by Colorado voters in 2020. No wolves have been reintroduced in the state yet because of Prop 114.
Donna Schultz, who owned the working dog, Cisco, said her husband let the dogs out about 4 a.m. Monday. When he went to feed the dogs and call them back in, all of them returned except Cisco, whom he found dead in the snow about 30 yards from the house.
"We were both so distraught. It was pretty tough," she said. "... He's not just a working dog but part of our family. We loved the dog, dearly. It's been really hard the last few days to be without him."
Cisco was 7 years old and a sweet dog, but he was also all-business when it came to his work as a cow dog, she said.
She said the wolf pack has been in the area but first came onto her ranch two or three weeks ago and killed an antelope.
"We truly did not expect that they would show up at our house to come after our dogs," she said. "We thought, if anything, they were going to be in the cattle."
Illegally taking a wolf might result in a combination of penalties, including fines and jail time. Schultz said that makes it difficult for her and others to protect their animals.
"It would be nice if we were able to kill a wolf if they are on us, in our cattle or attacking an animal," she said. "We need a tool like that. ... We don't want to go hunting wolves, but we have to be able to protect our animals."
CPW offered the following advice on keeping pets safe in areas where wolves are active:
- Never feed wildlife.
- Keep an eye on your pet, especially at dawn and dusk.
- Don't leave dogs outside in an unprotected environment overnight.
- Don't leave dog food outside.
- Place a bell or beeping collar on wider-ranging dogs.
- Talk loudly to the dog or other people with you, or use whistles.
- Control the dog so it stays close to you, which helps wolves associate it with a human.
- Leash the dog if wolves or fresh signs are seen.
9NEWS producer Jack Linnehan contributed to this report.
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