A dog suffered fatal injuries when it was attacked by a bear during a hike with its owners on Thursday evening, June 7.
The 9-year-old shih tzu was euthanized at the Granby Veterinary Clinic because of severe injuries it suffered when a black bear took the dog into its mouth. The couple was hiking with the dog in the area of Kinney and Sheriff creeks, east of Hot Sulphur Springs, when the unleashed dog advanced far ahead of the hikers and was out of sight for a short time. It was then the dog crossed paths with the bear, according to area Parks and Wildlife Manager Scott Murdoch.
It's likely the black bear viewed the dog as prey, Murdoch said.
Murdoch, who called the incident a "unique and unfortunate situation," has no plans to trap the bear due to the encounter because the bear "was not doing anything out of the normal," he said.
Susan Tasillo, D.V.M, of Granby Veterinary Clinic, said fatal dog encounters with wildlife are rare cases at her practice. The veterinarian sees far more cases of "irresponsible dog owners" whose bigger dogs attack smaller dogs, she said.
Especially while hiking, dog owners are encouraged to leash dogs, Murdoch said.
"As conditions get drier, it's likely that bear sightings and bear conflicts will increase," he said.
Bears are 90 percent herbivores and rely on grass forbs, berries and mushrooms, all which are more readily available in wetter conditions.
To avoid attracting bears or other wildlife and creating unsafe situations among pets, children and adults, mountain residents and visitors are reminded to take down bird feeders, put away barbecue grills, keep dog food inside and keep trash in wildlife-proof receptacles.