DOW investigating llama attack near Silt
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
SILT, Colo. ” The Colorado Division of Wildlife is investigating an attack that left a llama severely injured last Friday south of Silt.
According to DOW spokesman Randy Hampton, the llama had several injuries to its legs, neck, and top of its head and one of its ears was torn off.
“The llama was pretty significantly injured,” Hampton said.
Hampton said the DOW was contacted by the llama’s owner, Steve Schubert, and first reported a possible mountain lion attack. However, DOW investigators believe that most likely the animal was attacked by a dog.
“We examined the llama while the vet worked on it and we were able to measure the marks and there is a big difference in canine and mountain lion injuries,” Hampton said.
Hampton said that, while dogs will attack an animal by the legs to take it down, a mountain lion will go directly for the neck. Evidence collected at the pen indicate that there may have been more than one dog present, according to Hampton.
“The injuries and the evidence at the pen seem consistent with an attack of a pack of dogs,” Hampton said.
However, the DOW is not ruling out mountain lions just yet. Hampton said mountain lions are all over western Colorado and that attacks do happen often.
“Lions will take a llama,” Hampton said. “It’s just that the evidence doesn’t point that way in this case. But if the proof is there then we will move forward. Right now we just have a lot of injuries that are consistent with a dog.”
The DOW has called upon the services of Garfield County Animal Control and the assistance of Wildlife Services which is a department of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to further investigate.
Hampton also said the DOW has received reports of a white pit bull taking down a deer in the area recently, but the dog has not been found. So far, there is no evidence the pit bull is connected to the llama attack.
If it’s determined that a mountain lion is the culprit, the DOW would be responsible for the veterinary bills if the animal is considered agriculture damage, Hampton said.
Schubert owns 20 llamas and has had several for 10 years. He said this is the first time one of his animals has been attacked. If a dog is to blame, Schubert said that just makes the situation more frustrating for him.
“If it were a mountain lion, at least I can somewhat understand it,” Schubert said. “But dogs allowed to run like that is irresponsible ownership.”
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