Whitehorse Daily Star

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Susie Rogan

Dog on the mend following wolf attack

A wolf attacked a dog last Friday in the Golden Horn subdivision south of Whitehorse.

By Chuck Tobin on November 10, 2015

A wolf attacked a dog last Friday in the Golden Horn subdivision south of Whitehorse. The incident occurred at the kennel owned by Yukon Quest veterans Susie Rogan and Hans Gatt.

Rogan said this morning it’s the first time in her eight years there that they’ve had an encounter with wolves.

Eagle, a retired eight-year-old sled dog, is recuperating from puncture wounds but nothing that required stitches.

The blood, though, was flowing pretty good when the dog came into the house shortly after the attack at around 10 p.m., Rogan said.

She said they were just getting ready to call it a night. The usual gang of seven older and smaller dogs that don’t pull sleds anymore were out and about, as they usually are before bedding down on the porch or in the house.

“I was in the kitchen and I heard this slam against the door,” Rogan recalled.

There was Eagle looking in the window.

She let her in. Eagle was covered with slobber. Blood started dripping on the floor, and then it really started dripping.

Gatt went outside to look around. The gang was going nuts on the porch, barking and screaming.

One of the smaller dogs was off a ways, barking up a storm, and Rogan figures it was either chasing the wolves or being chased.

With head lamps and bear spray, they checked their yard, and could see two sets of larger tracks – wolf tracks.

At daybreak, Rogan said, they followed the two sets of tracks to the Yukon River. The smaller tracks were larger than those of their largest 70-pound dog.

The largest set of tracks was big, but weren’t the biggest wolf tracks Rogan has seen.

In the daylight, you could see the wolves had been in the field watching for some time.

You could see where the larger wolf had laid down under a spruce tree.

You could see that there had been a skirmish right there, just 100 metres from the front porch.

It looked like Eagle may have just gone walking by and the wolf ambushed her, Rogan said.

But Eagle has the gang she chums with, the dogs that roam freely in the yard but never go too far from the house.

One of the gang is 12, and there are a couple of 11 1/2-year-olds. Three are too small to be sled dogs. They sleep on the porch, or in the house, not like the bulk of the 50-dog kennel that is kept together behind a high fence.

Rogan said she suspects the wolf got more than it bargained for when it latched onto Eagle.

“Amazing enough, I think this little gang showed up and surprised the wolf enough that she could get loose,” she said.

Rogan said she slept in the inside porch that night, stirring to every sound.

She was a little unnerved for a couple of days.

Eagle is doing fine. A member of Rogan’s Yukon Quest team in 2013, she is resting on the couch and taking antibiotics to ward off any infection that might arise from the punctures.

Wolves do not have the cleanest of mouths.

Rogan said from talking to her neighbours, she understands it’s been some 20 years since a couple of dogs were killed by wolves in the country residential subdivision just south of the city limits.

She suspects the wolves may have been attracted by the smell of meat that day, as they had just received 1,000 pounds of dog food.

With a back issue flaring up, Rogan was unable to help Gatt unload as she normally does.

After Gatt had moved most of meat into the freezer, he decided to leave the chicken fat on the trailer until morning, something they don’t do normally.

Rogan said it just seems too coincidental that the attack happened on the same day they unloaded dog food. That meant the door to the walk-in freezer full of sour fish was opened for a prolonged period.

The wolf tracks indicate the pair had been walking back and forth in the yard for some time, she said.

Rogan said wolves are part of the landscape, but she doesn’t think they’re too keen on coming up to people’s houses, especially with 50 dogs in the yard.

But she is a bit concerned, nonetheless, that the wolves might bookmark their kennel as part of their route now.

Rogan said she has talked to Environment Yukon about the attack.

Environment Yukon spokeswoman Nancy Campbell said this morning the incident at the Rogan and Gatt Kennel was the first wolf incident reported to the Whitehorse office this season.

It’s not uncommon in the Yukon for wolves to prey on pet dogs.

Comments (8)

Up 0 Down 0

Rose on Dec 27, 2015 at 5:24 am

My dog was attacked by a wolf last night. It had her pinned by the face. I could just hear her muffled cries in the bush and ran towards her. The wolf ran off when I got there. She doesn't want to move today. I talked to the vet last night (we don't have one in town) and will be calling again today. I'm so worried.

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Jody on Dec 1, 2015 at 6:26 pm

I live out in the Golden Horn / Carcross cutoff region and had 2 dogs taken from me Saturday morning and the 3rd got bitten and escaped. Very sad and scary.

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susie on Nov 16, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Thanks Mark! (Pretty sure I know what the S. stands for..) Saw one set of tracks yesterday, but that is it since the incident. In our neighbour's field. I hope they move on too. Heard yesterday that one person down the Carcross Road had two dogs killed about a week ago.

Eagle meanwhile is running around outside again (with me out there), and was barking at me today, all excited. She is really feeling better. Still sleeping a lot too but super happy.

Up 10 Down 1

Mark S on Nov 13, 2015 at 3:30 pm


It's actually a nice photo. Hope the wolves move away from those dog hunting ground because it likely will only get worse.

Up 6 Down 1

susie on Nov 13, 2015 at 1:41 pm

Tonight will be one week, and Eagle walked around fairly normally today for the first time after I carried her outside this morning. She trotted up the stairs on her own and jumped back on the couch on her own.

She still sleeps or rests almost 24 hours a day on the couch. It was a serious attack and I do not think she would have lasted another 30 seconds if the other dogs had not have shown up.
Very sorry to hear about the other two dogs that were killed. I knew about Natasha's dog. So sad.

All I can say to make anyone feel better is that I think it happens fast, like 45 to 60 seconds and they are dead. By the time we heard any noise, she was already injured and back on the porch. The other dogs were still in the bush where it happened, figuring out what was going on out there.

I think it was like, "grab, snap, snap, snap..." and she wiggled away as the other dogs arrived to startle the wolf. That nearly was enough to get a fatal bite in, but not quite.

They have not been back, and they never did approach our fenced areas and the many dogs loose in those fenced areas. I think they are very opportunistic. We have 8 dogs that are usually loose all the time. They have been in fenced areas or in the house since, at night. All are over 8 years old and half are 12. The one that was attacked is 8.

Hope this helps others to shed light on what I think is going on, and to help you protect your dogs if you live south of town.

Up 6 Down 1

Natasha on Nov 12, 2015 at 10:16 pm

Someone can report to Environment Yukon that one of my dogs got killed by wolves in Robinson Subdivision on November 3. A few days before my dog died there were two dogs killed on Cowley Road. Now Golden Horn, the pack seems to be spread out over a wide area. I've heard that Blaine Walden, who doesn't live far away from me also had wolf tracks near his place, but so far no attacks yet.

Up 10 Down 1

Pete Neilson on Nov 12, 2015 at 10:31 am

Have also heard of attacks in Cowley Crk and Robinson.

Up 23 Down 5

susie on Nov 10, 2015 at 3:21 pm

You sure found a sad looking picture! LOL That's me at the end of the Quest. Eagle is snoozing on the couch. Her friend Sassy is beside her.

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