A Star Valley family is preparing to do whatever needs to be done to protect its livestock from a wolf dog, more commonly known as a hybrid wolf.
After seeing some of her horses attacked by the hybrid wolf, Nathalie Stroup left messages with the Gila County Animal Control Office. Those messages were never returned.
Star Valley is covered through Gila County through at least July 1, and Stroup said if the county is too busy, she would appreciate being informed of that.
John Castandeda, Gila County Animal Control Office Supervisor in the Payson office, said he was unaware of the calls, but added all calls are normally screened.
He said what his office normally would do is follow the animal home and issue a citation for a dog at large. He was trying to get in touch with Stroup on Wednesday for more information.
Stroup said she had seen the wolf on her property four to five times before it went after her horses a few weeks ago.
She said she was sitting outside when the wolf dog entered the corral where her horses are kept.
She said small girls were walking the wolf dog, when it got away from them before coming onto her property.
She said when she saw one of the girls climbing over the corral fence, she took a closer look.
Stroup said the wolf was in a hunting stance and stalking one of the horses before "going after" one of her horses.
After she moved that horse away from the wolf, the hybrid went after another of the horses.
"A horse's instinct is to run," she said. "Buddy was against the fence and was terrified."
She said the girls who lost control of the hybrid were calling it, but it did not respond to them.
Stroup said she does not think the wolf would have taken down and killed one of her horses, but could have terrified them enough that they would have tried to escape their enclosure.
"He would have had (the horses) so freaked out that they would have tried to go over the fence," the Star Valley woman said.
She thinks that is how an injury could happen to one of the horses. Stroup also said that a hoof could have hurt one of the small girls after they entered the corral to try to retrieve her pet.
Stroup said the animal is not a traditional dog, and is instead a natural wolf.
"Even though he was by himself, he was still showing his interests in hunting," she said, adding the hybrid, which she believes is 10 months old, is already bigger than a full-grown German Shepherd.
She said she is also concerned about the safety of her two little nieces who live nearby as well as a sister, next door, who often sees her infant grandchildren.
"As it gets older it will get braver." she said. "I am sure a wolf will go after almost anything."
She said on Tuesday night she called and left two messages with Gila County Animal Control, and never heard back.
"I think it's because they do not have enough officers," she said, adding, "Who would want to be an animal control officer whose one responsibility is to go after an animal that could maim you for life?"
Amanda Stroup, Nathalie's daughter, said the hybrid wolf, as it gets older, will gain strength and bravery, which could compound the problem.
"She is young, and she has interests to go after the horses now" Amanda said. "Imagine when she is fully grown."
Nathalie said if she has to choose whether or not to protect her horses should the hybrid attack again, it will be an easy decision.
If her horses come under attack again from the hybrid wolf, Stroup said she might fire a warning shot in the hope that it scares off the animal. If that does not work, she may have to shoot the hybrid wolf.
"I have to protect my horses," she said. "I am an animal lover, but I am going to protect my livestock."
Stroup said now is not the time to sit around and wait for another incident to occur
She said what she would like to do if she sees the animal again is to talk with the pet owner. She also said she is going to try to get in touch with a Gila County Supervisor.
Nathalie said all she is asking is for the owner of this animal to be a responsible pet owner.
"Be responsible for your pet, and that makes everyone else around you safer," Stroup said. "A wolf is a natural thing. You take that risk when you take a wild animal as a pet."
Stroup said she wants people in the town to be aware of what is occurring in her neighborhood, because it could happen in other parts of the town too.
"I plan on going to my council meetings and keeping this an issue," she said, adding that is why she voted for the members of the Star Valley Town Council.
-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.