The third wolf attack in the Sooke area in as many months has killed a dog.
The owner of a 13-year-old sled dog had let the dog off to run around the property on Beecher Bay Road in East Sooke. The owner went searching when the dog failed to return, only to find the animal dead on his property with signs it had been attacked, according to conservation officer Peter Pauwels.
The owner called in and reported a cougar attack, but Pauwels said it was clear the dog was killed by a wolf “based on the dog’s injuries and the method of feeding,” which is different between wolves and cougars.
Conservation officers were also called to a separate incident on Wednesday night a few miles away from the wolf attack. During a confrontation between a cougar and a dog on a chain in a yard, the cougar appeared to be coming for the dog when the owner got into their car and honked their horn to scare the cougar away.
The dog attacked by the wolf was about 65 lbs. Usually, medium size dogs like that are less likely to be attacked than smaller dogs, but can still be a target depending on the predator, Pauwels said.
This is the third such attack in a little over two months. A dog was killed in a similar incident on Feb. 1 when its owner let it off-leash on their Connie Road property. A wolf attacked an off-leash dog in Broom Hill on Jan. 8, and its owner had to save the dog from its jaws.
“We suspect that wolves have moved closer to civilized areas in pursuit of prey species. We think there might be a shortage of deer up in the hill. So they are around closer and we’re getting more of these incidents than we used to. So people need to be aware of that,” Pauwels said.
Pauwels said the best way to avoid an incident is to keep your pet within eyesight or on a leash.
Report cougar or wolf sightings to 1-877-952-7277 and Wild Wise Sooke by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 250-880-8371.