On Monday, authorities in Wyoming said a dog pack was behind the death of a Native American woman. The animal attack comes on the heels of a warning last week to the public to be on the lookout for a dangerous predator. With the FBI involved, among other things, members of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe were left a bit skeptical of the pack of dogs revelation, citing a report from the NWI Times.
Deanne Lynn Coando, 40, of Fort Washakie, was found dead on the Wind River Reservation. The terrain is rugged and bordered by mountains and steep hills. The Fremont County Chief Deputy Coroner, Mark Stratmoen, said the woman’s cause of death was from a combination of hypothermia and bite wounds from a dog pack in the Wyoming mountains.
The news of the tribal member’s death sent ripples through the community of 3,900 members when federal authorities were tapped to assist in identifying hairs that belonged to a dangerous and unknown animal. At the time, the victim’s identification wasn’t publicly known, and Wyoming officials did not mention a dog pack in their bulletin.
Kimberly Varilek, attorney general of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, downplayed concerns of a dangerous pack of feral dogs on the loose in Wyoming. She contends that despite the fatality, deaths by pack dogs are rare in the 2 million acre Indian reservation community. Varilek is not sure where the dog pack came from, but says there are ordinances in place to guard against, and track, resident violations where necessary.
“The tribes have ordinances and deal with dogs running around as any government does. It’s not really been an issue, we’ve not had a series of dog attacks or anything like that against people. There may be some skepticism because it’s so unheard of.”
Sergio Maldonado, Sr. echoed the comments by the attorney general. The Northern Arapaho Tribe member also denied hearing about any past reports of dog attacks in Wyoming, or any threats of dangerous animals that pose a threat to the public. He did admit that it is commonplace in Wyoming to see dogs that gather in packs for warmth and to find food.
“I don’t mind sharing with you my observation that we have too many dogs on the reservation, probably cats, too. It’s not a problem safety wise for people and livestock. I haven’t heard of anything like that.”
A Wind River Law Enforcement Center spokesperson said that at least one attack from a dog pack in Wyoming took place in recent years. Unlike the recent incident, that encounter ended with injury only.
[Image via: Occasional Musings]