Wolves at the city’s door tear into dog population

By Kris Schumacher , The Daily News
Published: Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The wolf population on Kaien Island has always been a concern for some Prince Rupert residents, but attacks this past week have many people in a panic.

Wolves have attacked dogs in three separate incidents during the past week, one resulting in the death of a young maltese. Residents have spotted at least one wolf carrying a cat in its mouth, and there are reports of several missing cats from residents on the upper eastside, where the reported attacks have happened.

A 12-year-old female resident on India Avenue was even shaken by an encounter with two wolves while walking her young pug Friday afternoon.

I was walking my dog, and I saw a dog with its back to me. I thought it was just a regular dog because it was in a yard, so I just kept walking towards it,” she said.

“It turned around to face me and I realized it was a wolf, so I called my mom on my cell and she said to pick (the pug) up and start walking the other way.”

The girl did as instructed, but as she began retracing her steps another wolf appeared from Immanuel, and both wolves began to walk toward her. That was when she began to run back to her home with her dog under her shirt. She made it home safely without an actual attack taking place.

Another male youth was similarly followed by wolves to his home in the same neighbourhood on Friday. What is most disconcerting to residents is that both incidents happened in the middle of the day.

David Brochu and other residents in Prince Rupert’s upper eastside neighbourhoods are concerned about the many children that live and play outdoors where recent wolf attacks have occurred.

He said that he and his family will not even take walks in the area now, because of the risk they feel is posed by the emboldened wolf packs.

“It has to be controlled somehow, the deer are coming into town and the wolves are following them,” he said. “It’s not a safe situation.”

Wayne Haldane lives on Crestview Drive, and was one of three dog owners to have their pets attacked in the early hours of Friday morning.

Haldane let his small Lasso Apso ‘Little Joe’ out at 5:15 a.m., and says he couldn’t understand why the animal was taking so long to do his business.

“I went out there and the rope was tight, so I hollered at him and I guess it startled the wolf and he let him go,” said Haldane. “I went to the end of the driveway and wolf was standing right there. We took him to Dr. Kennedy’s, he’s pretty bruised up in his hindquarters, and there’s teeth marks all over his body, but he’s OK now. Pretty tough little dog though.”

Haldane says the 20-foot rope that Little Joe was tied to is what saved him from being carried off by the wolf. He says the wolf that attacked his dog stood about three feet high, and stood boldly at the end of driveway staring him down before he took Little Joe inside.

Jill Eastwood runs a dog grooming business from her home on Crestview, and was shocked to find out about the attacks that happened early Friday morning on her street.

“If they can take down a deer, they can take down my kid walking to school. I was horrified, I had to have my mother-in-law walk my kid to school,” said Eastwood. “And why aren’t they going after the deer? We have more deer than dogs up on Crestview, and yet they’re going after the dogs.”

Eastwood says that at least two of the wolves spotted are large and healthy, and have been continually attacking dogs in the upper eastside neighbourhoods as far back as three weeks ago. Conservation officers were called and did arrive in Prince Rupert on Friday afternoon, but residents say that they couldn’t have accomplished much in a brief tour of the area before leaving.

Dr. Kennedy treated the Haldane’s Little Joe and another small dog that was attacked, but didn’t treat the one that died. He said the wolves have been periodically active in the upper eastside area where the Pacific Coast Veterinary Hospital is located, and has heard them howling several nights in recent weeks.

“They are on the outskirts and they do run through town periodically, and it’s a hard one other than [to say] don’t let your dog out for a run without being with it,” said Kennedy. “And even if you’re in the parks around town, they’ve been seen there. So keep your dog near you, because wolves can kill small dogs fairly easily.”

Constable Peters of the Prince Rupert RCMP is handling the wolf cases, but was unavailable for comment yesterday. Conservation officers in Terrace were also unavailable for comment yesterday.


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