Dog owner cited after elk attack
Steamboat Springs — A dog owner was cited Tuesday for allowing her off-leash dog to viciously attack an elk on Emerald Mountain.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife area wildlife manager Jim Haskins said they received a report of a person hearing dogs barking and a commotion from an animal Tuesday morning.
Haskins said a couple had been looking for their dogs, and a dog returned with blood on it.
Haskins said a severely injured calf elk was later discovered.
The elk was taken to a veterinarian, and the decision was made to euthanize the animal because it was so badly injured by the dog.
“It basically chewed a huge hind quarter off the elk,” Haskins said.
District wildlife manager Andrea Sponseller said the dog owner was extremely apologetic and really cooperative.
“She was definitely a little distressed about the situation,” Sponseller said.
Parks and Wildlife cited the woman for allowing a dog to harass wildlife. She paid the $276.50 fine on-site.
The Routt County Sheriff’s Office cited the woman with failure to license a dog, failure to vaccinate a dog and dog-at-large. The woman also paid the $140 in county fines on-site.
Undersheriff Ray Birch said dogs need to be leashed in county areas where posted. In other parts of the county, dogs may be off leash, but the owner has to maintain control of the dog.
Within Steamboat Springs city limits, dogs must always be on a leash except in designated dog parks.
Haskins said Colorado Parks and Wildlife will attempt to recover the value of the elk, which is $700. Haskins said it is a cumbersome civil process, but he thinks it is important to do so in this case.
Haskins warned that there are currently many elk at lower elevations, including on Emerald Mountain. He advised dog owners to keep their dogs on leash.
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