A local woman is warning Juneau dog walkers to use leashes after her family dog was killed by a wolf on a Lemon Creek trail Wednesday evening.
Laura Martinson posted to the Facebook page Juneau Community Collective around 11 p.m. Wednesday that her father encountered a wolf while walking their dog near the gravel pit behind Home Depot in Lemon Creek. When reached for comment via Facebook messenger, she confirmed the account to the Empire.
“Our family dog was taken and killed tonight by a large black wolf,” Martinson wrote. “The wolf did not appear to be phased by humans, so please leash your dogs out there and be cautious about your hiking routines.”
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game confirmed they heard of the killing Thursday morning, Regional Supervisor Ryan Scott said. Scott said ADFG Area Biologist Stephanie Sell investigated the carcass at noon Thursday. Scott later confirmed that the dog was a Chihuahua or a Chihuahua mixed-breed dog.
Sell will look at bite marks and possibly take a DNA sample, Scott said. ADFG does not have a plan for how to use any information they receive from the examination, but Scott said they want to document anything they can in case they can learn anything about how or why the dog was killed.
The wolf population around the Juneau area and on Douglas Island has increased in recent years, but wolves aren’t easy to spot. Only one wolf has been shot and killed by a hunter in the area this hunting season; it was taken on Douglas earlier this week, Scott said.
“It’s not that they don’t exist here, they just are generally very secretive,” Scott said in an interview.
Scott too advised that Juneau dog walkers have their dogs on leashes or have them close at hand and under strict voice command. He also said to stand your ground and be aggressive if you see a wolf. Do not run away. Let Fish and Game know.
“If people continue to have these interactions, we need to know,” Scott said. The phone number for the Douglas office of ADFG is 465-4265.