Dangerous WA state dog pack eliminated

“Pack” had killed over 100 farm animals and pets near Spokane-

Although many news stories had this as a pack of ravaging “Cujos,” this group of 3 or 4 dogs did kill a lot of animals and was a much greater threat to people than the maligned wolf. The Seattle Times article below is calmer than most media, especially including the hysterical Dave Workman.

3 members of dog pack killed. Seattle Times/AP

While wolves have killed no one in the lower 48 states nor even attacked, there are about a million dog bites a year in the United States.






  1. Harley Avatar

    So…. I am curious. What makes the behavior of this dog pack or any dog pack different from a wolf pack? Dogs and wolves are from the same basic family. If I remember correctly, many behaviors in dogs and wolves overlap. Some of those behaviors are what makes the ‘pet dog’ the animal we love so much such as their loyalty and their instinct to protect. What went wrong with the dog pack that made it stand apart from the behavior expected of a wolf pack?

    1. RoastPuppy Avatar

      There is a lot of difference between a dog pack and a wolf pack. Wolves are true pack animals and they hunt in a pack for food, killing and eating what they need at the time. Dogs, on the other hand, kill for sport, something wolves do not do. Wolves attack and kill only for food or if they feel threatened. Although descended from wolves, dogs are not true pack animals. With true pack animals, pairs mate for life, both raise the young and members do not wander in and out of the pack. None of these characteristics can be applied to dogs. And regardless of what the dog freaks say about dogs being “social” animals, they aren’t. Although dogs will “run” with a group of other dogs, at times, members of the group come and go. For example, when a female gives birth, it is essential that she remove herself from the group because the other dogs will kill the pups. Dogs are not natural creatures and are the only animals on earth (besides domestic cats that will sometimes kill and “toy” with small animals) that kill purely for the joy of killing.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan


    Here is a start.

    Dogs were preferentially selected over time by people because they showed neotony and friendliness rather than fear of humans. Under feral conditions, however, this innate lack of fear of humans can be very dangerous.

    1. Harley Avatar

      That was my initial thought, thanks for confirming it Ralph!
      Is it true that feral dogs are prone to just kill for the thrill of it? It moves, ‘it must be taken down kind’ of thing?
      I know that is one of the big issues, that the wolves in Idaho are killing and not eating the elk they kill. Not sure how that is related or even if it is related. Just making an observation from reports I’ve heard!

      1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
        Ralph Maughan

        I guess it depends whether they are truly feral or not. Feral dogs are own their own and need food, but domestic dogs that are fed do sometimes form hunting structures and chase and sometimes inefficiently kill livestock, pets and wildlife.

        1. Jay Avatar

          Probably very similar to domestic cats–even though they are tyically well fed, they still retain the need to hunt.

  3. Linda Jo Hunter Avatar

    When I was growing up my father raised sheep in a small farming community in Michigan. Several times a year domestic dogs, who had loving homes, would pack together when let out at night and if not stopped would kill hundreds of sheep. As I have observed domestic dogs over time I find that a lot of them have “issues”. The captive lifestyle does not always give a dog what it needs and like minded dogs form destructive packs easily. I would much rather meet a pack of coyotes or wolves in the wild than crazy, overfed, unwise,puppy brained grown dogs intent on some mischief. It was always to strange to see a family pick up it’s sheep killing dead dog saying “but Buffy wouldn’t hurt a flea, I don’t understand this.” Domestic dogs need lots of exercise and a sense of purpose and self worth. Our modern lifestyles rarely give them what they need.

  4. PointsWest Avatar

    I had a dog when young that began disapearing at night, one summer, and sleeping most of the day. He was, otherwise, gentle and a very good dog and loved everyone. Someone told us he was seen running with a pack of dogs chasing stock and farmers were trying to kill this pack of dogs and might kill our dog. We started locking him in at night.

    It was like a kid getting involved in a street gang. The allure of being in a pack and to run, chase, and kill was too strong. Then he began disapearing before dark so we couldn’t lock him in at night so we locked him up in the day time for a few weeks. By winter he had gotten it out of his system.

    1. Harley Avatar

      lol like a kid getting involved in a street gang! No colors, just fur!

      My aunt and uncle always had farm dogs in rural Minnesota and never had these kinds of problems. The only problem was keeping the dogs from chasing vehicles and getting run over. They lost 2 that way and one winter dogs in neighboring farms were disappearing. That’s how they lost their last one. One night, he just disappeared. There was talk about the dogs being stolen but nothing could be proved unfortunately.

      1. PointsWest Avatar

        I lived in a small town that loved dogs. It was famous for the American Dog Derby. Dogs ran loose all over town and the town had a nickname of Dog Town. Most people let their dogs run loose because dogs were much happier running loose. It was too cruel to chain your dog up. Some did chain their dogs and you felt sorry for a chained dog. The one thing people didn’t like was their dog hanging out up on Main Street where all the business was. That was bad to have your dog being seen on Main Street. You had to try and train your dog to never go on Main Street. You’d scold them, “Get home”!, “Bad dog”!

        We lost a few to cars. Some just disapeared or were found dead. In fact, the dog I mentioned probably poisoned himself. We found him dead in a nearby alley. People said they saw him and he looked sick. I think it was quite easy for animals to poison themselves in the 60’s and 70’s. Many poisons were around in those days for animals to get into.

        We only had the one dog who started running with in pack (gang), however. No other dogs we owned ever had that problem. I believe farmers did kill many of the dogs in the pack ours was running with and the problem went away. I did hear of other dogs running in packs at other times and in other areas, however. It seemed like all the ol’timers knew what the problem was and how to deal with it.

  5. Brandia Avatar

    Ralph, didn’t you SEE the pictures, those weren’t “dogs”! That is the new “code” for wolves so the ranchers & farmers get to kill them, bury them & be done with it

    1. RoastPuppy Avatar

      The animals in the photos I saw were NOT wolves — they were dogs.

  6. Wolfy Avatar

    Had a number of feral or semi-feral dog gangs ranging around farms near where I lived in northern Indiana in the 70’s and 80’s. They were resposible for many livestock and pet losses. Several people had reported being “stalked” or threatened by some of these dogs (myself included). This all ended when a 10 year old boy was killed (literally ripped apart)by a pack of 10+ dogs riding his bike home from school. Everyone with a gun was out looking for the dog gangs. It was “shoot on sight”; warnings went out to chain-up your dogs, or else. I love dogs and couldn’t imagine my life without them, HOWEVER, allowing one’s dogs to do these things should be a crime. Wolves are unlikely to do this because of their inate fear of man. Seen the same things happening on the Rez in Wyoming; mostly pitbulls allowed to run free. Only a matter of time before someone gets killed.

    1. jon Avatar

      Wolves will attack and kill livestock from time to time like these wild dogs did. Wolves will sometimes attack livestock because they are easy meals.

  7. Harley Avatar

    I think so much comes down to ownership responsibilities too. If you are a pet owner, you need to be a responsible one. Train your animal, take care of it! It’s frustrating to see that.

  8. Phil Avatar

    Behavior in the wild is different then behavior in captivity. Domestic dogs who live in a safe and comfortable home do not have the fears and alarming affect of those dogs running in the wild. I have not studied behaviors of domesticated dogs compared to stray/wild dogs, but seeing some stray dogs and comparing their survival behaviors to those in homes has a significant difference. For one, much of the time for stray dogs is in search of food.

    Last year National Geographic wanted to do a short series about stray dogs in the city of Detroit and capturing their survival through their own eyes by capturing a few of them and attaching a small camera around a collar and putting it around their necks so that we can see the hardships that these dogs face on a daily basis. The city of Detroit refused this proposal by National Geographic because they believe it would have damaged the reputation of the city more so then what it currently is. If anyone does not know, there are a lot of stray dogs in the city that were abused and neglected. It really is not the dog, it is the moronic people who do not have the intelligence of raising any pets.

  9. Immer Treue Avatar
    Immer Treue

    Perhaps this sounds like more government involvement, but perhaps the time has come for people to get a license if they want a dog, not just the dog.

  10. Troy Evans Avatar
    Troy Evans

    This is a little off the subject, but does anyone remember reading a Sports Illustrated magazine article years ago about this very topic? I can’t remember if it was fiction or non-fiction. The article was written by a sheep rancher somewhere in the Western USA whose ranch was near a new suburban subdivision. The homeowners let their dogs run free, and they formed a pack and started killed the rancher’s sheep. The article ends with the rancher killing the dogs with a rifle to protect his sheep.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan