Wolves and coyotes suspects in dog killings

Posted: Monday, April 07, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) At least four dogs in the Hillside area of Anchorage have been killed this winter, probably falling victim to wolves and coyotes.

In November, two coyotes attacked and killed a beagle that was running loose near Campbell Airstrip, said Betsy Kean, a Hillside resident. She said the dog had been on a leash, but was running loose near the airfield when the coyotes attacked.

In midwinter, a large coyote or wolf snatched a small dog off the front step of a home near Birch Road on the South Anchorage Hillside. The predator carried the dog off and the pet was not seen again, said Rick Sinnott, a Fish and Game biologist.

A medium-sized dog also was attacked in midwinter while chained to a doghouse near Birch Road. The dog was found half-eaten about 30 yards from the doghouse. Sinnott believes the attacker was, again, a wolf or large coyote.

In late February or early March, a large husky or husky mix was attacked and killed while chained to a doghouse on Riverton Avenue, near lower Rabbit Creek Road. Tracks indicated a large wolf, Sinnott said. The predator tried so hard to pull the dog free of the doghouse that it ripped the dog's tail off. The dog was disemboweled.

On Friday, a woman told Sinnott that she saw a wolf with a short tail attack her neighbor's large Labrador retriever. She broke up the attack before the dog was injured.

A low snow year has left Anchorage's moose healthy, said Howard Golden, a state Fish and Game biologist. That may have made hunting by wolves more difficult and placed pressure to find food elsewhere.

These may be fairly hungry wolves,'' he said.

Golden said that wolf packs tend to disperse in late winter and early spring.

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