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Domestic dog killed in Jackson County wolf depredation incident

Another dog was injured
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Posted at 8:23 PM, Jan 10, 2022

DENVER — One domestic dog was killed and another was injured by wolves in Jackson County, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

A CPW District Wildlife Manager received a report of wolf depredation incident in North Park, first reported by Steamboat Radio, involving two domestic border collies.

The report came in at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 9 that there was a dog carcass and another injured dog on a ranch in the area.

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Bus (right), short for Buster, was killed in a wolf depredation incident in Jackson County reported on Jan. 9, according to his owner.

The district wildlife manager responded to the area and conducted a field investigation, which indicated wolf tracks in the immediate area as well as wounds on the dog carcass consistent with wolf depredation, according to Kris Middledorf, CPW area wildlife manager.

CPW did not provide further details on the incident.

Carlos Atencio, the property manager at the ranch and owner of the dogs, found one of his dogs, Izzy, on the porch bleeding from injuries shortly after waking up that morning. He initially thought it may have been from coyotes, but when he went to search for his other dog, Bus — short for Buster — there were wolf tracks "everywhere."

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While Izzy had serious injuries, Atencio said she's OK. In a call with CPW Tuesday morning, he said they discussed compensation.

"It's not a replacement for the dog. The dog was kind of one of a kind and spent the last six years working with me," Atencio said. "But... I mean, it's something, I guess."

Atencio said he also had a dog die in December. He assumed it was coyotes then as well, but after this incident, he's not so sure. With the pack nearby and the reintroduction of wolves after Coloradans passed Propostion 114 in 2020, Atencio is concerned for the future impact.

"They're kind of just killers, and that's that's the unfortunate part about living out where we do is we have to deal with them," Atencio said.

Travis Duncan with CPW did note that this particular incident is not a result of a wolf reintroduction, but rather the natural migration of wolves into the state.

Atencio said he will be keeping a close eye on his dogs and his 12-year-old son, who's taken the deaths hard.

In December, the Colorado Cattlemen's Association confirmed the first wolf kill of livestock in Colorado in more than 70 years. A 500 pound purebred replacement heifer was attacked and eaten by a wolf pack in Walden, which is home to one of the state’s packs.

While the incidents happened less than a month apart, Duncan said these types of incidents are "relatively rare."

"Wolf depredations will occur, but they'll be infrequent," Duncan said. "We don't take it lightly."

Duncan said CPW has one of the most "robust" depredation funds in the country, which routinely pays out more than $500,000 annually for its game damage programs.

Gray wolves remain a state endangered species, and CPW reminds Coloradans that wolves may not be taken for any reason other than self-defense. Penalties for an illegal take of a wolf can include fines of up to $100,000, a year of jail and a lifetime loss of hunting license privileges.

The Parks and Wildlife Commission is making a final determination on allowing specific hazing techniques regarding wolves in a commission meeting Wednesday. If the commission votes to pass the regulation, it will allow for hazing techniques like fladry, guard animals and scare devices that would help to minimize the likelihood of conflict or depredation.