Pack of dogs in Meeker area casts doubt on wolf involvement in cattle deaths

The discovery of a pack of nine dogs harassing wildlife in the vicinity of where more than 40 cattle died south of Meeker casts further doubt on wolves being involved in the deaths.

That new information was included in a Colorado Parks and Wildlife news release Tuesday announcing the agency was closing the investigation without an exact cause of death of the cattle four months ago.

The state wildlife agency said its investigators could not definitively determine cause of death for a few calves with hide damage and trauma consistent with a canine attack. Lenny Klinglesmith, owner of the cattle, and livestock veterinarians continue to investigate whether the cattle died from health complications, along with mitigation efforts beyond the initial report of depredation, the release said.

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The news release reported there was a pack of nine dogs harassing wildlife seven miles from the livestock incident on a U.S. Forest Service public grazing permit south of Meeker and there was no evidence of wolves in the area. Colorado Parks and Wildlife said it is working with the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office and will address domestic dog issues involving cattle according to the legal processes. "Although a few cattle showed wounds consistent with injuries from large canines, further investigation to collect additional evidence has yielded no confirmation of wolves in the area," Travis Black, the state wildlife agency's Northwest Region manager, stated in the release. "Based on the hide damage and muscle trauma to the animals, we believe these few cattle were likely killed, or injured and died later, by some species of canine larger than coyotes. We do not have specific evidence to determine what species of canid caused the depredations."

The release said the 90-day window that allowed the rancher to provide proof of loss expired, and due to a lack of evidence of wolves in the area, Klinglesmith will no longer pursue wolf depredation compensation.

Previous coverage:Meeker cattle deaths remain unsolved mystery to Colorado wildlife and livestock experts

This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Dog pack likely killed cattle near Meeker, not Colorado wolves, CPW says