Beavers or otters attack dog at University Lake

Published: Nov. 27, 2019 at 6:19 PM AKST
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Toward the beginning of November, dog sitter Alison Seymour took her friend’s dog out on a walk around University Lake. After a run-in with something swimming in the water, Seymour had to take the dog straight to the vet.

The dog is a two-year-old Labradoodle named Nootka. Her owner is Carol Stratton.

Stratton said she was very worried when she got the call from Seymour about her dog being attacked. At first, Seymour thought it was a beaver, but said she never got a clear look at it.

“They made a beeline through the water. I called for her and bam,” Seymour said. “They pulled her under at least twice. It was horrifying.”

Stratton said her vet told her that the attacker barely missed Nootka’s femoral artery on her left hind leg. She was bitten in several other locations on the back of her body that needed to be stitched up.

“She was a good patient,” Stratton said about the first few days after the attack. “I think she was a little bit traumatized. She was just lying around all the time. She had a fever with the infection.”

Since the attack, the stitches have been removed, all her antibiotics taken, and Nootka is walking around just fine. Still, her owner and dog sitter were scared.

Fish and Game biologists say it could be a beaver, and they’ve gotten reports of attacks in the area before. However, area management biologist Dave Battle says he's leaning more toward the attacker being a gang of otters.

In fact, Battle says there’s a good chance it was the same gang of otters responsible for another dog attack at

in the beginning of October.

Stratton and Seymour showed Channel 2 reporters where the attack happened. For those familiar with the trail, it happened at the bridge where the creek forms a delta into the lake, as Seymour describes it.

There were plenty of other dogs and their owners there when Channel 2 visited. Many of them were jumping in the water where the attack happened. Fortunately, the only wildlife to be seen were some mallards.

One of those dog owners was Rian Phillips, who was taking a couple chocolate labs out for a walk. He already knew about the possibility of beaver and otter attacks in the area. He was walking the dogs without a leash, and said he wasn’t too worried about it because his dogs are well-trained.

“It happened to my parents’ dog growing up,” Phillips said, “but I would absolutely be worried if I didn’t know how my dog was going to react or if it got in the water.”

When it comes to being safe in these situations, Battle said that these attacks are rare, but you should always be on the lookout for them. He also said if you do see otters or beavers to keep your distance and they’ll probably keep theirs.

There are signs posted warning about beaver attacks. However, after this situation, Stratton said she’s been considering putting up a few more that she could make at home.

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