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Grand Marais mayor's dog survives attack by wolves

He heard his 65-pound dog "screaming bloody murder" and then saw the wolves chasing her.

A dog survived an attack by wolves on a hiking trail in Grand Marais recently, said the owner, who happens to be the mayor of the North Shore city.

Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux told WTIP Radio on Jan. 15 that they were probably 3-4 miles into their hike for the day on the Pincushion Mountain Trail when he heard his 65-pound dog, Blue, "screaming bloody murder."

He called for her, but she didn't come, so he went to her and saw the wolves chasing Blue through the woods, noting the animals were "absolutely enormous."

"I was probably 20 yards away from them when I charged into the woods to scare them away," DeCoux said, adding he was screaming and the wolves ran off in the same direction and Blue made it back to him.

As far as he can tell, Blue's wounds are relatively minor. She did suffer a puncture wound on her neck and her back leg and is being treated with antibiotics. He said she was faster than the wolves, which is probably what kept her alive. 

"She's fine, she's just super doped up," he told the radio station after leaving the vet's office on Jan. 15. 

DeCoux said he informed the Minnesota DNR conservation officer of the incident and is sharing the story so people are aware that there are "definitely active wolves" on Pinchusion and doesn't blame the wolves at all. 

"We're all in the same spot and we have to be aware of it," he told WTIP. 

DeCoux also told this story to the Star Tribune, saying Blue is doing well and was out frolicking on Tuesday morning. 

Wolves are not uncommon in the Grand Marais area, with their tracks frequently spotted in the wilderness on the North Shore. And while wolf attacks on humans are rare – they generally avoid humans, according to the International Wolf Center in Ely –, wolves have been known to attack dogs because they see them as competition, with the International Wolf Center noting a dog was attacked near Ely in 2019. 

The wold center has some recommendations to keep people and their dogs safe in wolf country: 

  • Keep dogs on a leash as wolves are less likely to approach people, and don't allow dogs to run loose or range away.
  • Don't try to intervene if a dog is actively being attacked. 
  • Carry bear or pepper spray to deter an attack or spray if a wolf is actively attacking a dog. The effects of bear spray are non-lethal to the dog.
  • If you encounter a wolf, don't run – act aggressively, stepping toward the wolf and yelling or clapping your hands if it tries to approach. Don't turn your back on an aggressive wolf – continue to stare at it directly. 
  • Stand your ground if a wolf attacks and use anything you can to fight back, climbing a tree if necessary.

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