Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Wolf attack alarms ranchers

By Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

On August 25, 2015 Oregon Cattlemen’s Association members, Buck and Chelsea Matthews, dealt with the unexpected. The ranchers woke to discover one of their dogs laying on the porch with what appeared to be wolf’s teeth marks on his neck. “Scooter, was laying by the front door when I headed out in the morning,” owner Buck Matthews said. “I thought he was dead. He was laying on his side obviously injured and bleeding from his back and front legs.”

The couple lives in Troy Oregon, an hour and a half from the nearest town. They loaded the dog up and rushed him to a veterinary office in Enterprise. Dr. Randy Greenshields of Double Arrow vet clinic was the vet on duty that received Scooter. “It was pretty gruesome,” Greenshields said.

“Scooter had both front legs punctured with torn muscle and bruising on the back of his neck.” He said the skin was not only torn loose, but that it was lifted off of the muscle. His hind legs were also bruised.

It was several hours later when Buck and Chelsea realized that Scooter wasn’t the only dog that had been hurt. Tom, a dog that typically tags along with their children during the daytime hours, had been attacked too. Buck Matthews said Tom had jumped in the truck to head to work in the morning and didn’t start moving slow until later that day. “After looking closer, we saw he had lacerations behind his ear and hind legs and was bruised really bad on his belly/underside.” Wolf bites

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was called to examine the dogs. According to an official ODFW report, “ODFW examined both live dogs and found multiple bite marks indicating attack by large predator or domestic dog. The location and appearance of the bite wounds noted above are similar to those ODFW biologists have observed on other depredations by wolves.” The injuries were evidence enough for ODFW to label the attack “wolf probable.”

...The attack on their dogs was close enough to the house that it has raised some concern for the Matthews, especially since they had no idea wolves were coming so close to the house before the attack occurred. “We’ve seen a wolf twice since the attack. Both times it was less than a mile from our house,” Buck Matthews said.

Chelsea Matthews said the family is now taking extra precautions, both with their dogs and young children. “We lock all the dogs up at night and the kids have to stay where I can see them (when playing outside),” she said. “It’s not worth the risk of me sending them out of sight knowing that there are wolves around.” Matthews said it is frustrating to not be able to let her children explore and play outside without constant worry. “Our kids should get to experience all the joys of being country kids.”

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