Javelinas Attack Dog in Arizona Weeks After One Reportedly Bit Woman

Javelinas attacked a pet dog near Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday, in the latest of a series of recent attacks by the animals in the state.

Javelinas, also known as the collared peccary, are originally from South America and are relatively new additions to the fauna of Arizona.

ABC15 reported on Thursday that a woman was out walking her dog recently when javelina attacked at the Marquis at Sonoran Preserve apartment complex in North Phoenix.

Marquis at Sonoran Preserve management emailed residents on Wednesday to alert them about the incident, ABC 15 reported. Newsweek has contacted the management for comment.

"They come out at night sometimes on the patio and she didn't see them and just kind of got scared, spooked or whatever and, I think they just attacked her dog," resident Dalton Gregson said.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) states on its website that the animals can become defensive in the presence of dogs and can associate them with coyotes, one of their natural predators.

AZGFD Information and Education Program Manager Amy Burnett told Newsweek:

"While javelina attacks on humans are rare, conflicts between javelinas and dogs are not uncommon across Arizona and particularly in the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas... Although javelina attacks on people are uncommon, it's worth noting that in most cases, it can be linked to feeding of wildlife in that community. Coyotes are a main predator of the javelina's young, and javelinas don't distinguish between domestic dogs and coyotes when acting defensively."

She added: "This is why it's so important that people are aware of javelinas in their community, and avoid conflict by not attracting them. People attract javelinas unintentionally such as leaving out dog food or garbage cans that are accessible to wildlife, or intentionally by feeding (which is illegal in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal Counties in Arizona)."

The attack on the dog is the latest in a series of javelina attacks involving humans and their pets in Arizona.

For example, AZGFD in Tucson said on January 4 they were seeking a woman they suspect was bitten by a javelina in the Oro Valley area near Tucson last month, prompting concerns over a possible rabies infection.

In a tweet announcing their search for the woman, the AZGFD Tucson said that she had been walking her dog near West Placita Salton on December 20 when she was possibly bitten by javelinas.

The AZGFD says that rabies is a health concern for human encounters with the animals.

"Javelinas can catch rabies, although they do not generally carry it without symptoms. Symptoms of rabies can include foaming at the mouth; erratic, hyperactive behavior; and/or fearful, paralyzed and lethargic behavior. If you see any animal with rabies symptoms, call 911 or your local Arizona Game and Fish Department office right away," the AZGFD said on their website.

According to Arizona's Pima County Library, there have been two reported cases of rabies linked to javelina bites.

Similarly on October 28, a man walking his dog in the Oro Valley was charged and bitten by a javelina on the foot.

AZGFD's Burnett said that there were several basic precautions residents could take to keep themselves and their pets safe from javelina attacks.

"To minimize encounters between javelinas and themselves and/or pets, people should avoid intentional or unintentional feeding which attracts the animals to their community. In instances where javelinas have bitten people, such incidents are almost always associated with people providing the javelina with food. Javelinas can inflict a serious wound, and people have been hospitalized and have had to undergo painful rabies post-exposure treatment afterwards.

"If people encounter a javelina while out walking, they should turn around and go in the opposite direction immediately. Avoid walking at dawn and dusk, when javelinas are more active, and carry pepper spray in areas where these animals are more habituated," she said.

Southern white-lipped peccary
A stock image showing a southern white-lipped peccary, also known as javelinas. Wildlife authorities in Arizona have warned residents in the state that dogs can provoke the animals. iStock / Getty Images Plus