Dogs chasing deer is becoming a common call in the Clearwater Region lately. Concerned citizens reported a spike in dogs chasing deer numbers in the Kamiah, Kooskia and Grangeville areas. Deer are being chased, injured and at times eaten alive by dogs running at large.
Pet owners have a duty to monitor and keep their dogs under control both inside and outside city limits. Deer and other big game animals must expend precious energy reserves to avoid harassment by dogs. The deer are cold and struggling to survive the remainder of the winter while dogs are full of energy ready to run. This is a problem that can be prevented. Dog owners are urged to keep track of dogs, and train them to not chase or harass wildlife.
It is against Idaho Code for dogs to track, pursue, harass, attack, injure or kill big game, unless otherwise allowed under Idaho Code. An example of this would be the lawful use of hounds for bear or lion hunting.
Any peace officer, or other person authorized to enforce laws, may destroy the offending animal. In addition, the animal’s owner may receive a criminal citation.
If a private individual were to kill a dog at large it could carry criminal or civil liability. An exception to this is if an animal is actively harassing livestock or threatening a person. In those cases, a private citizen may destroy the animal, but should report the incident to authorities so they can contact the animal’s owner.
To report an incident, you may contact your local IDFG Conservation Officer or local Sheriff’s office. They will need to know information such as the date/time the incident occurred, where it occurred, a detailed description of the animals and who the animals belong to. If witnesses can get a photo or video of the act that is also very helpful, as the reporting party may need to sign a citation if the officer does not witness the act.
Protect Idaho's wildlife and keep control of your pets. Contact the Clearwater regional office for more information (208) 799-5010.