Colorado’s North Park wolf pack killed two dogs within days of each other earlier this month, mirroring an intolerance for dogs seen in Wyoming and elsewhere, wildlife officials said.
“Simply put, wolves and domestic dogs don’t mix,” Dan Thompson, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s large carnivore specialist, told Cowboy State Daily. “We have documented several occurrences of wolves killing domestic dogs, including pets, those guarding livestock and hunting hounds.”
The North Park pack apparently killed two dogs within 4 miles of each other March 13 and 14, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department spokesman Joey Livingston told Cowboy State Daily.
A working livestock dog was killed March 13 in rural Jackson County, in the pack’s territory, he said. On March 14, wolves mauled a “pet” dog at a nearby rural home. That animal’s injuries were so severe it had to be euthanized.
“Wildlife officers found wolf tracks in the vicinity and GPS collar data for both incidents that also indicated wolves were in the area during the time the dogs were attacked,” Livingston said.
Wolves will sometimes attack dogs for the same reason they will attack other wolves or coyotes – territory, Thompson said. Wolves don’t like canines besides their own pack members on their turf.
He previously told Cowboy State Daily that turf battles between packs can turn deadly.
It’s the same story elsewhere. Minnesota wolf biologist Thomas Gable said a pack of three wolves was recently wiped out by rivals in his wolf study area.
North Park Pack Is Racking Up A Record
Wreaking trouble among its neighbors isn’t new to the North Park pack. The wolves are blamed for killing 10 livestock animals, starting with a calf in December 2021.
Colorado ranchers that lose animals, including working cattle dogs, qualify for compensation, Livingston said. But Colorado doesn’t offer compensation for pets killed by wolves.
The North Park dog killings aren’t the first time Coloradoans have lost pooches to predators. Mountain lions killed as many as 15 dogs in 30 days late last year in and around a small town in rural Boulder County.
First Pack, Likely Of Many
The North Park wolves are Colorado’s first established pack, and so far the only one. The pack formed in 2021 when a male and female wolf that had migrated from Wyoming met in the North Park area, mated and had a litter of pups.
The female is thought to have traveled roughly 400 miles from the Yellowstone area in northwest Wyoming.
Colorado plans to reintroduce roughly 50 more wolves starting by the end of this year. To minimize trouble with other jurisdictions, the wolves will be released in areas at least 60 miles from the Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico state lines, as well as sovereign Native American lands, Livingston told Cowboy State Daily recently.
‘Common Sense’ Can Keep Dogs Safe
Because wolves hate dogs, people should keep their canine companions close whenever possible in wolf territory, Thompson said.
“Safety tips are fairly common sense if you have dog(s) and are recreating where wolves are present make sure you have control of your dog(s),” he said.
That’s particularly important at dawn and dusk, when wolves and other predators are likely to be on the prowl, according to pet safety information for CWP.