Moose Tramples Pet Dog to Death on Colorado Trail After It Ran Ahead of Owners

A dog was trampled to death by a moose it encountered on a trail in Frisco, Colorado, on Saturday.

The dog, named Arlo, was off its leash and had gotten ahead of its owners on the Masontown Loop Trail when it encountered the moose. As the dog attempted to return to its owners it was attacked.

The incident was reported by Summit County Rescue Group on its Facebook page on Sunday. It wrote: "Yesterday a dog named Arlo was hiking on the Masontown trail in Frisco with his family and found himself ahead of his owners with three moose on the trail between them. He tried to go back to his people and one of the moose trampled him.

"Arlo was still breathing but unresponsive when we arrived. We got him out of the field quickly and his owners took him to an animal hospital. Sadly, later that evening we got word that Arlo had passed away."

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The team used the incident as an opportunity to warn the public about how dangerous moose encounters can be for dogs and for humans. They directed locals to Colorado Parks and Wildlife's website for advice on how to deal with such encounters.

Summit County District Wildlife Manager Elissa Slezak said: "Thanks to our sportsmen and the hard work of CPW managers, we have very healthy moose populations in Colorado.

"They are a charismatic species that inspire awe and fascination, but people also need to understand how dangerous moose can be if you are irresponsible around them. A moose that is provoked can seriously injure or even kill someone."

Slezak advises that while people could enjoy moose watching from a safe distance, too many people are unaware of the dangers that these animals, which can grow as large as 1,600 pounds and over six-and-a-half feet tall, present.

"Moose do not fear humans so it can lead some to think they are friendly - I assure you they are not," she continued. "Many people get into trouble because moose appear docile at first and don't run away when people approach, but when a moose has decided you've invaded their space they can move very fast, and it's often too late to get away."

Slezak added female moose, or cow moose, can be particularly aggressive when it comes to defending their young. And this aggression is amplified in the presence of dogs.

The district wildlife manager said that moose will react to dogs as they would to wolves, their main predator. This often brings humans into danger as a dog that encounters an aggressive moose will often run back to its owners, bringing with it a large, enraged animal. And despite their impressive size, a moose can still charge at around 35 miles per hour, twice as fast as a human.

Anna Debattiste of the Summit County Rescue Group told Fox 31 that the group was sharing the story of Arlo to make pet owners aware of the dangers that wild animals like moose can present to them and their animals.

Wise to Keep Dogs on a Leash

She said: "So many of us hike with our dogs. All of us on the team hike with our dogs. We know that moose can be dangerous but something like this really brings it home and makes people pay attention to keeping themselves and their dogs safe."

Debattiste added that it is wise to keep dogs on a leash and keep them close while hiking. She added that while her team's primary purpose is to assist humans, they have attended three incidents involving dogs this year.

Moose are Colorado's largest wild mammals, and with an estimated population of 2,500 across the state, the animals are increasingly moving into more rural areas. Colorado Outdoors cautions that while this has created exciting opportunities to view these fascinating animals, it has also increased the risk of dangerous conflicts between moose and people.

A file photo of a moose in Colorado's Brainard Lake. A dog was trampled to death on a trail in Frisco on Saturady when it encountered three moose. MEGiordano_Photography/Getty