Moose kills dog on trail near Frisco
A dog was killed after being trampled by a moose on a hiking trail near Frisco on Saturday, Oct. 30, according to Summit County Rescue Group.
At about 2:40 p.m., Summit County Rescue Group received a call regarding a dog that had been attacked by a moose on the Masontown Trail south of town. Rescue group spokesperson Anna DeBattiste said a couple was walking their dog, Arlo, when he ran off a bit in front of them. They relayed to rescue workers that three moose then came onto the trail between them and Arlo, and one of the moose attacked Arlo as he attempted to make his way back to his family.
DeBattiste said the owners told rescuers that Arlo wasn’t barking or acting aggressively, and she guessed the attacking moose might have been a mother acting in an attempt to protect her calves.
When rescue workers arrived on scene, DeBattiste said Arlo was alive but “clearly very badly hurt.” Rescuers took him down to the trailhead in an ATV to his owners’ car, and Arlo was taken to Silverthorne Veterinary Hospital, where he died later that night.
The sad incident serves as a reminder for community members that moose can be extremely dangerous, especially around dogs.
“When (moose) see a dog, especially a barking dog — which this wasn’t — they think it’s a wolf, which is one of their natural predators,” DeBattiste said. “So they might go after that dog even if he’s minding his own business and not being aggressive at all, especially if it’s a mother protecting her calf.”
Bridget O’Rourke, a spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said moose attacks have been on the rise. She noted that there have been at least four attacks in Colorado this year that have resulted in a human injury, three of which also involved a dog.
O’Rourke said community members should always do their best to keep a safe distance from moose and other wildlife.
“The biggest thing is to respect wildlife and watch wild animals from a distance,” O’Rourke said. “That can include binoculars, a camera lens, a spotting scope. … If you put your thumb out, they should be as small as your thumb. You want to keep them at that far of a distance. … They’re wild animals. We don’t know how they’re going to react, and that includes also getting too close to elk and deer because they can charge, as well.”
Of course, close encounters can happen suddenly, and many hikers have experienced the shock of turning a corner and coming face-to-face with a moose or hearing one stumble out onto the trail behind them. O’Rourke said if you’re surprised by a moose on a trail, the best practice is to stay calm, back away slowly and find a barrier like a tree or boulder to stand behind in case the animal decides to charge.
While officials don’t believe that Arlo acted aggressively toward any of the moose, O’Rourke emphasized that dogs should always be leashed, adding that it is illegal for dogs to harass wildlife and people can be cited for such behavior.
“The positive piece is that we’re lucky to live in a state where there is so much wildlife for us to witness their wonders and observe,” O’Rourke said. “It’s all about just coexisting and understanding that we have to live with wildlife and what it means to respect them.”
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