A video showing two unleashed dogs harassing a pair of moose in Calgary’s Springbank Hill area has raised safety concerns from a member of the southwest community.
A community resident, who asked not to be identified, said she was turning onto 26 Avenue S.W. from 69 Street S.W. on Thursday at around 2:15 p.m. when she saw two loose dogs chasing a pair of moose in a ravine area.
She stopped and began recording the scene on her phone.
“I thought it was really interesting the dogs were running after the moose,” she said.
She said she was concerned the dogs would chase the two moose near the local school, where she was going to pick up her children.
“I started recording so I could show the school,” she said.
She said the two moose were visibly annoyed with the canines.
“This situation was a bit different with the dogs,” she said. “You could tell the moose were mad at the dogs…they didn’t want to play.”
She said she’s lived in the area for about six years, and the moose pair are a common sight in the community.
She said she doesn’t know where the dogs came from. Her theory is that the dogs saw the two animals and jumped a fence. Other than that, she doesn’t know who owns the dogs.
The resident continued to follow the moose and dogs in her car, where they eventually ended up in front of her children’s school.
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“These big animals were in front of the school,” she said. “Would the moose hurt the kids?”
Eventually, the two moose ran across the street toward a wooded area with the two dogs in hot pursuit, she said.
The resident said she didn’t know where they went after that.
Animals on the loose
Kalia Lagran with the City of Calgary said in an email that it’s illegal for dogs to be “running at large,” and fines can range from $50 to $100.
At-large animals can be reported to 311, she added.
It’s also illegal in Alberta to allow a dog to pursue big game, which includes moose, deer, elk and bears.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife said Friday it hadn’t seen the video, but said situations like the one depicted in the video can be considered wildlife harassment.
Shawna King with Alberta Fish and Wildlife said the presence of dogs will cause wildlife to move away, with the scent of canines repelling wildlife from an area for hours.
Wild animals can become alarmed and stop routine activities when encountered by other animals such as domestic dogs, King said.
“When repeatedly stressed, wild animals experience long-term health impacts, including reduced reproduction and growth, suppressed immune systems and increased vulnerability to parasites and disease,” King said.
“Dogs can transmit diseases to and from wildlife. In some cases, loose dogs kill wildlife.”
King said normally, moose are not aggressive but they can be easily provoked into an attack if they’re stressed. If you’re being charged by a moose, you’re encouraged to find a car, tree or building to hide behind.
“Do not allow your dog to harass moose, and do not try to scare off moose by yelling or throwing things,” King said.
Anyone who witnesses dogs chasing wildlife is encouraged to report the incident to the Report a Poacher hotline.