Steamboat Springs Wildlife officials have asked animal control officers to increase patrols in the residential neighborhoods south of Steamboat Ski Area this week after a reported brush between a cow moose with a yearling calf in tow and a dog that was off leash.
Colorado Division of Wildlife Manager Danielle Domson said Friday that she responded to a report of the dust-up between the moose and the dog and observed a row of cars parked on the side of a road while the occupants took pictures of the moose. She renewed pleas for people to give the animals ample room and keep their dogs under control.
Domson confirmed that moose don’t make a distinction between domesticated dogs and their mortal enemies: wolves; and their instinct is to attack them. However, she said she has observed this winter that moose pay less attention to dogs being walked on a leash than they do to dogs that are off leash.
“We’ve asked animal control to do extra patrols, but it’s hard for any of us to baby-sit moose all day,” Domson said.
The urgency to keep the local moose population and dogs separated is more acute after an incident this winter when the DOW tried to relocate a moose that tried to stomp a dog in another neighborhood.
The dog survived with minor injuries, but the moose died in transport, Domson said.
“We tried to do what was best for that moose, but it died from the combination of stress and the tranquilizer,” Domson said.
The encounter happened in a neighborhood closer to Old Town after a moose entered a yard through an open gate and began feeding, Domson said. The homeowner let the dog out in the yard, unaware that the moose was nearby.
The adult moose that were commonplace in city limits in December and January have changed in appearance — they have all dropped their antlers, Domson said.