Wolves kill Oregon sheep, injure protection dogs

John and Karen Hollingsworth/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service A gray wolf is seen in this file photo.

Wolves killed several sheep and injured flock protection dogs in consecutive night attacks in Northeast Oregon.

A news release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said it was first time protection dogs have been injured by wolves. The livestock producer said three of the five dogs he had on guard were injured and a fourth is missing. “He was the most aggressive one; more than likely he’s dead, he hasn’t turned up anywhere,” the producer said.

The producer, an Idaho resident, asked not to be identified because he doesn’t want to be harassed by people who believe wolves deserve protection and who oppose livestock grazing on public land. ODFW confirmed his identity to the Capital Press.

The producer said he has about 1,000 sheep grazing in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. He said the grazing allotment has been active for many years and that he purchased it from the original holder.

The producer said an armed herder was camped on site when the wolves attacked. He heard noise but in the darkness was unable to make out what was going on, the producer said. He said 10 sheep were killed, including two bucks. ODFW originally reported eight ewes were killed.

The producer said the cost of the attack could run up to $18,000 to $20,000 if the loss of future lambs is considered. The bucks that were killed would have capable of producing hundreds of lambs over the course of their lives, he said.

The guard dogs were an Anatolian-Akbash-Pyrenees cross the producer breeds himself. He said the dogs probably were no match for a wolf. The injured dogs will recover physically, but may be mentally beat down.

“Wolves are just bigger and meaner and smarter,” he said.

The Sept. 15 and 16 attacks were blamed on the Mt. Emily pack, one of eight documented packs in Oregon. They were the first attributed to the Mt. Emily pack, which at the end of 2013 was known to have at least four members.

The attacks happened on public land in a grazing allotment. ODFW is working with the sheep producer to increase deterrent measures and will coordinate with other livestock owners and landowners in the area, according to the news release.

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