Army closes Anchorage area where wolves have attacked dogs

State wildlife officials say trappers will take care of the problem

Posted: Monday, December 24, 2007

ANCHORAGE - The Army closed certain training areas at Fort Richardson to the public because of encounters between a pack of wolves and people walking or running with their dogs.

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On Saturday, the Army announced that they are placing all training areas west and north of the Artillery Road area off limits. The restriction is being imposed for the safety of people who use Fort Richardson lands for recreational purposes, base officials said in a written statement.

The most recent wolf attack occurred Thursday morning, when three women jogging down Artillery Road with their dogs were surprised to find seven or eight wolves trailing them. The women said the pack silently approached from behind. By the time the women noticed, the wolves spanned the road only a few feet behind them.

One dog took injuries that required stitches. The dog's owner, Camas Barkemeyer, backed the wolves up with a can of pepper spray. But the wolves followed the group about three-quarters of a mile down Artillery Road to the entrance gate.

The same pack is believed to have killed another dog in Eagle River last week, as well as at least two other dogs in the last month. The pack has threatened other people and dogs.

State wildlife biologists say the behavior of the wolf pack is worrisome because the wolves appear to have begun attacking dogs when humans are close by.

Officials said the pack consists of one black wolf and as many as five gray wolves.

State wildlife officials expect trappers will take care of the problem. The trapping season for wolves in the area north of the city extends into late winter.

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