Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dog shot by North Idaho teen who thought it was a wolf

Jim Rosauer said his dog, Kenai, a husky-malamute mix, was shot by a teenager who mistook the dog for a wolf. (Jim Rosauer)
Jim Rosauer said his dog, Kenai, a husky-malamute mix, was shot by a teenager who mistook the dog for a wolf. (Jim Rosauer)
PREDATORS -- A teenager has been accused of shooting a dog he mistook for a wolf as the dog's owners were walking it down a rural road in North Idaho last weekend.
 No excuses. The wolf season closed March 31.
Here's the story on the North Idaho incident by S-R reporter Becky Kramer:
A North Idaho man said his dog was shot on a Forest Service road last weekend by a teen who mistook the husky-malamute cross for a wolf.
The dog later died. The same bullet struck Jim Rosauer’s second dog, which survived.
“We saw both of our dogs drop to the ground. It was just shocking,” said Rosauer, who lives near Eastport, Idaho.
Rosauer said he and his wife, Lisa, were hiking Sunday afternoon on the snow-covered road to Spruce Lake, which is near the Montana border. The dogs had run ahead of them.
“We saw the people about 180 yards away with a gun,” said Rosauer, who described them as a couple with their 19-year-old son. “The man said to me, ‘Sorry. It’s my fault. I told him (the son) to shoot the wolf.’”
Boundary County Sheriff Greg Sprungl confirmed that the shooting is under investigation, but said no charges have been filed. The sheriff’s department is working with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game on the investigation.
Dogs are sometimes mistaken for wolves, said Chip Corsi, Fish and Game’s regional supervisor in Coeur d’Alene. Several years ago, a wolf hunter brought an animal to a check station that was actually a dog.
Corsi said he couldn’t comment on the recent incident, since it’s still under investigation. However, “people need to know what they’re shooting at, and they need to be hunting legally,” he said.
Idaho’s wolf season on federal lands closed March 31. Hunters face fines of up to $1,000 if convicted of attempting to take a game animal during a closed season.
Rosauer, a 50-year-old log furniture maker, said he feels compelled to speak out about the incident. He’s an elk hunter who supports public hunting of wolves, but said the “reckless disregard” for safety and flouting of hunting laws appalled him.
Kenai, the dog that was killed, weighed 65 pounds and had some wolf-like features. But unlike a wolf, she had an ear that flopped down and a curly tail, Rosauer said. She was with the couple’s other dog, a lab-malamute mix.
“He doesn’t look anything like a wolf,” Rosauer said, “but that’s not even the point. There is no gray area here. The season was closed.”
Shooting into a roadway also endangered him and his wife, Rosauer said. They were a short distance behind the dogs.
Rosauer said the couple and their son stopped to apologize and helped him load the dogs into his vehicle. Kenai died in a Sandpoint veternarian’s office; her shoulder was shattered. The bullet struck the other dog in the leg, but it’s recovering.
Anti-wolf feeling runs high in Boundary County, where vehicles sport bumperstickers that say “Canadian wolves, smoke a pack a day.” Rosauer said that type of sentiment encourages people to act lawlessly.
“We’re teaching people to have zero respect for the animals. I don’t remember growing up like that,” he said. “Where are our hunting ethics? You don’t have to like wolves, but I think they should be treated with respect as a game animal and a creature of this planet.”
Rosauer said he still feels raw over Kenai’s loss.
“This is a sad story, but I want it to be an educational one for people,” he said. “I’d like to see the culture change.”