Colorado Wolves Kill Two Dogs Just a Day Apart

Two dogs have died after being attacked by wolves in Colorado within a day of each other.

The dogs lived on ranches in Jackson County that are about four miles apart, the Coloradoan reported. One was a working livestock dog that was killed by the wolves on the spot, and the other was attacked the next day and so severely injured that it had to be euthanized.

The two wolves responsible for the attack had only recently been re-collared by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, The Coloradoan said.

The GPS collar data showed officials that the two wolves had been in the area when the attack took place. Wolf tracks also helped determine what had happened.

A file photo of a wolf. Colorado plans to reintroduce the species to the environment. AB Photography/Getty

Greg Sykes, the owner of the first dog that died, told Steamboat Radio that he found Cisco dead about 30 yards from his home, The Coloradoan reported.

The other dog owner, Roy Gollobith, had been awake at 6.30 a.m the following day when he saw Blaze had been injured.

"I called him and he just turned around with this glazed looked,'' Gollobith told the radio station. "Then I saw blood on his throat. Sure enough he was pretty tore up.''

Gollobith said the wolves did "too much damage" to the dog's throat and abdomen to save him, so "they put him down."

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said both owners will receive compensation, The Coloradoan reported.

It isn't the first time wolves have attacked dogs in Colorado. These two deaths were the first confirmed ones to occur since November, the news outlet reported.

The incident comes after Colorado announced in November 2020 plans to reintroduce wolves to the state. It has been a long process and not always popular with local people.

Carter Niemeyer, a wolf predation expert, told Newsweek: "When wolves begin to recolonize, the most important message to rural residents in area is to keep stock dogs close when working with livestock and confined/protected when not. It is a well-known fact that wolves do kill domestic dogs. The spring breeding season is a high-risk time for unaccompanied dogs. An inconvenience for sure, but a lifesaver for pets. Undoubtedly the death of the two dogs will trigger debate but I doubt that a reintroduction plan for wolves would be cancelled on account of this unfortunate set of incidents."

Some farmers were concerned about the wolves killing and feasting on their livestock, but biologists have said the species reintroduction is vital for the state's ecosystem, as it will restore predator-prey balance in the area.

The species used to be abundant throughout the Western states before they were largely wiped out by hunting and poaching.

Chris Smith, Southwest Wildlife Advocate at conservation organization WildEarth Guardians, previously told Newsweek: "In order to restore wolves to Colorado—which is required by law and the righting of a historical wrong—wolves need to be protected, especially when the population is so small. Three wolves killed represents a major hit to Colorado's nascent wolf population. Wolves are social creatures and a lack of protection disrupts pack dynamics and the viability of a tiny population."

Update: This article was updated to include quotes from Carter Niemeyer

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