A warning sign posted at Brotherhood Bridge by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Monday, April 30, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

A warning sign posted at Brotherhood Bridge by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Monday, April 30, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Wolf kills dog near Brotherhood Bridge Trail

A morning walk on the Brotherhood Bridge Trail took an unfortunate turn for a person walking their dog Monday.

Wildlife Regional Supervisor Ryan Scott of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said that at about 7:15 a.m. Monday, a person was walking their dog on the trail when the dog scampered into a grove of trees.

The owner of the dog — Scott did not provide details about the owner or the breed of the dog, saying he wanted to protect the privacy of the owner — then watched as a black wolf emerged from the grove of trees with what appeared to be part of the leg of a deer, Scott said. The owner and friends eventually were able to go over to the area, where they found the dog deceased and a fairly fresh carcass of a deer.

Scott said the wolf had likely killed the deer recently, as there were still signs of a scuffle in the area. What probably happened, Scott said, was the dog sniffed the carcass or the wolf and went over to investigate.

The wolf, Scott said, was likely just protecting its recent deer kill. He said there was nothing predatory about its attack on the dog, but that it was just guarding its food. Scott said Fish and Game personnel removed the deer carcass, looking to discourage the wolf from returning to the area.

Wildlife Biologist Stephanie Sell said the dog appears to have just been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Both she and Scott said there has been increased wolf activity in the area in recent months, and people need to remain watchful.

“We’ve had a lot of wolf activity all over town all through the winter,” Sell said, “and it feels like there were several more reports this winter than in previous years. Whether that’s the result of people just telling us more frequently or there being more animals, I don’t know.”

[Wolf sightings have increased this year]

There was an incident in November where a wolf killed a dog. On Nov. 1, 2017, a black wolf killed a Chihuahua or a Chihuahua mixed-breed dog near a gravel pit by Home Depot, Sell told the Empire at the time.

Keeping dogs leashed and well trained can help prevent scenarios like this, she and Scott said. With springtime just blooming, Scott doesn’t want these incidents to discourage people from going out.

“We live in Southeast Alaska,” Scott said. “Folks should definitely get out on the ground and enjoy it.”

They should just be careful when they do it, he said.

“Remain vigilant, be aware of what’s going on,” Scott said. “People should keep their pets under voice control or on a leash.”

Carl Koch, an assistant area management biologist, told the Empire in December that when encountering a wolf, stand your ground. Do not turn around or run, Koch advised, and use anything available to scare it off: throw sticks or rocks, yell, or use bear spray if necessary.

If you’re walking a dog, Koch said, keep it on a leash. Dogs are rarely well-disciplined enough to heed voice commands in the presence of wolves and other animals, he said. More information on wolf safety can be found here. More information about wolf safety can be found at www.adfg.alaska.gov.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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