Moose kills dog during walk in Strathcona
A dog has died following an encounter between a protective mother moose and a couple of dogs during a walk Monday afternoon.
Dog owner, Natalia Albinati says she was taking a study break around 4 p.m. to take her dog, Loki and her brother’s dog, Rowdy along the ravine in Calgary’s Strathcona neighbourhood.
“I’m usually quite observant — this is a nice time to look around,” said Albinati.
She says it’s an area they knew very well, and a location they walked hundreds of times.
“All of a sudden, I looked up and like right to the left of me — like 10 feet away — was a moose and her calf,” said Albinati.
According to Albinati, both dogs were off leash and ahead of her along the path and so there was nothing between her and the moose.
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“Nine times out of 10 times it would be fine. I’ve seen them charge at people or charge at dogs before but you’re usually a safe-enough distance that you can kind of keep your way and avoid them.”
But this wasn’t one of those times.
Albinati said, as she tried to get her dogs away, one of them was startled by the situation and started barking. That’s when she said the moose bluff charged the dog, but then turned its attention towards her.
“She started charging at me and I’m backing up and watching her trying to stay calm,” said Albinati, who remembers wondering at the time of the incident: how do you “fight a moose?”
“I was like ‘you don’t fight a moose,’ so I kept backing up and she just kept coming at me,” she added.
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She said she turned and ran. That’s when Rowdy, a 14-year-old Stafford Bull Terrier got in the middle of her and the moose.
“I think he was being protective and then as she (the moose) saw him running, she changed direction to follow to chase him. Then it was just kind of, they kick, and it was one kind of knock out blow to him. He was quite a small dog — he was very old, so he couldn’t move very fast to avoid.”
A day following the dog’s death, officer Matt Michaud with Alberta Fish and Wildlife said the decision was made to tranquilize the mother and her calf.
“We decided to prevent any other further conflict and to minimize any risk to the public. We did make the determination that it would probably be best to try and relocate these moose out of the park,” said Michauld.
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Both the cow and calf have since been moved about an hour away from the city.
According to the agency, this isn’t the first altercation they’ve had involving the mother moose. Michauld said they responded to that same area on Dec. 17, after another dog walker was charged by the moose, but no contact was made during that incident.
“Because of their evolution and natural predator species, it isn’t uncommon or probably uncharacteristic of moose to be more defensive or aggressive around canine species — domestic dogs,” said Michauld.
“Something as simple as a dog barking or running up to a deer if it is off leash can be enough to provoke some of that natural instinct to be protective and defensive around their young.”
Fish and Wildlife are urging people to pay close attention to dog walking areas that are both off leash and on leash. They also say if a dog’s recall isn’t the best to keep the dog on a leash.
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