Letter: Woman of moose incident a victim of false report
Ryan Summerlin June 14, 2013
Woman of moose incident a victim of false report
To the Editor:
The outrage over the recent euthanizing of a moose and her calf is partially misplaced. The real outrage should come from the inaccurate reporting of the incident that has in turn caused some people to harshly judge a long-time resident of that neighborhood.
The woman was not 10 – 15 feet from the moose, but was in fact, never less than 40 feet from the animals.
The articles make it sound as if she was interested in coming close and gawking at the moose. She has seen hundreds of moose in her neighborhood and knows to give them a wide birth, which is exactly what she did. She was walking in the opposite direction from the moose to her home. Her dog was on a leash and was barking. The mother moose rammed her from behind, knocking her down. It was a warning from the moose, not an out-and-out attack. The moose did not trample her but left the immediate scene. I agree with the editor that it is a shame that Parks and Wildlife do not review their policy on a case by case basis. In this particular case, this was not a mauling, but a warning push by an animal that wasn’t holding back its own strength. Yes, the woman paid a price by choosing to walk home that day. She feels more terrible about what happened than anyone. Before we condemn this person we should re examine our own behavior. How many of us have been closer to moose and even approached them? As I write this at 10 a.m., there is a big black bear roaming about 100 yards away. I agree with the editor. We must examine our own behavior if we are to coexist with our wildlife. Secure your trash, and always, always give an animal a very wide birth. Even then, it could end in disaster as it did in this case.
Since the Sky-Hi News relied on the official report from Colorado Parks and Wildlife on details of the moose incident, the News reached out to the agency regarding this discrepancy. Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Mike Porras issued the following statement:
“Our officer interviewed the witness at the hospital. The witness initially told the officer that her (witness) vehicle was parked in her driveway 10 feet from the cow and calf. According to the witness, the injured woman’s barking dog lunged at the moose and calf from the front of the vehicle as the injured woman walked her dog past the vehicle. The injured woman was holding the dog with a fully retracted leash. This information placed the injured woman and her dog 10 feet from the cow and calf.
In addition, a Grand County Sheriff’s deputy at the scene verbally told the CPW officer who responded to the scene that the woman and her dog had been as close as 10 feet to the cow and calf. The information released to the public by Colorado Parks and Wildlife came from the initial interview and report written by the officer who conducted the interview with the witness at the hospital, and the information provided by the deputy at the scene.
After our officer conducted a closer, physical examination of the scene and had an additional conversation with the witness the evening of June 12, it appears that the vehicle may have been about 20 feet from the cow and calf.
This is not a significant difference in distance given the circumstances and various factors involved in this incident.
A moose cow with a calf can become very agitated if a person with a barking dog comes close, whether it is 10 feet or 20 feet.”