One dog is killed and one dog in the hospital-- all because of two wolf attacks in Eagle River, only a few hours apart. Fish and Game officials say the same pack of wolves may be responsible for both attacks.
The first attack came Thursday morning when a dog was killed while on a chain in its very own backyard. The second attack came less than a mile away upon three women and their dogs who were running on a well-used stretch of road.
It was quick, so quick the three friends didn't know what was happening until it was too late.
"They were so quiet; they just came right up on us; they were quick. The dogs had no clue. They didn't smell them or hear them--nothing," said Eagle River resident, Alycia Beiergrohslein.
A pack of at least seven wolves surrounded the three women and their dogs as they jogged just on Artillery Road. The lead wolves came within feet, circling the women as they tried to get away.
"I was rainbowing my pepper spray, and they fell back a little bit. But as soon as we would turn our backs to try to go, they would run up on us, and we would turn around and start screaming again, and I would spray my pepper spray," said Eagle River resident, Camas Barkemeyer.
"We just kept pulling, and they were so big. And they started howling; and they were circling us. And it got us really panicked, and we kept screaming," said Beiergrohslein.
Beiergrohslein, Barkemeyer and their friend were more than a mile and a half away from their cars. All of their dogs were leashed because they had read the warnings about the other wolf attacks. The trio were careful not to run; the women walked backwards, screaming to keep the animals away, and trying to keep everyone safe.
"I love my dog with all my heart, but I can't jeopardize my friends. And if that's what they wanted, I didn't know whether (crying) to leave him," said Beiergrohslein.
The women held tight to the leashes, and were able to keep the wolves at bay, but not before the pack attacked Barkemeyer's American bulldog, Buddy.
"My dog was attacked by the wolves, three wolves. He fought his way out as I was pulling," said Barkemeyer.
The women weren't physically hurt. Buddy had to have surgery to fix his gashes and bites left behind by the wolves. But Barkemeyer worries the pack could attack again--next time, only worse.
"They were not afraid of us. And I'm afraid that if I was out here by myself, they would attack me. They were not afraid," said Barkemeyer.
Wildlife experts say wolves are smart animals and that they learn quickly. This means the pack will likely get worse before it gets better.
"If they figure out that dogs are easy to kill, and good food for them, then they can just come to the conclusion that there is a lot more dogs than moose, and 'let's just start eating the dogs for now.' I'm not sure they have quite reached that point, but they are working on that concept right now," said Rick Sinnott of the Alaska Department Of Fish and Game.
Sinnott tells CBS 11 News these attacks happened 13 years ago with the very same pack. The wolves were only stopped when some key pack members were trapped legally and killed. Fish and Game is now encouraging the military to scare the wolves from the area with rubber bullets to pepper balls. In the meantime, they say keep out of the area and keep dogs inside whenever possible.
To contact Andrea, call 907-273-3186.