By Jayson Jacoby
The animal that attacked a family's dog last month in Baker Valley was a large dog, not a wild gray wolf.
DNA testing from the University of Idaho confirmed that the attacker was a dog, said Brian Ratliff, district wildlife biologist at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Baker City office.
Officials at the University of Idaho tested DNA from samples of feces and hair that Ratliff collected on March 24 near the home of Jay and Genie Ogg. The couple, who have three children, live on Spring Creek Loop, which branches off Pine Creek Lane about 10 miles west of Baker City near the base of the Elkhorn Mountains.
The attacking dog is a male, Ratliff said.
The Oggs, whose 30-pound Shih Tzu, named Taz, survived the attack about 7 a.m. on March 24, believed the animal that attacked their dog was a wolf.
Ratliff said he's confident that the feces and hair samples he sent to the Idaho lab were from the attacking dog because, thanks in part to a relatively fresh layer of snow, he was able to follow the animal's tracks from the Oggs' yard into the nearby forest, and both the droppings and the hair were adjacent to the animal's tracks.
Since the attack on Taz, Ratliff said he has talked with a man who lives in the area and reported that, about a month before the incident at the Oggs' home, his dogs were attacked by what he described as a light-colored German shepherd.
That attack happened while he was walking his dogs along Pine Creek Road, less than a mile from the Oggs' home.
Jay Ogg said he hadn't heard about that earlier incident.
"We've talked with probably 20 households from Pocahontas up to Pine Creek, and nobody had reported any attacks," Ogg said Friday afternoon.
Ratliff said he has removed the state-owned motion-sensing trail cameras he had set up to try to get a photograph of the animal that attacked the Oggs' dog.
The cameras photographed a coyote, but no large dogs or anything that might have been a wolf, Ratliff said.
Jay Ogg said he'll leave his own trail cameras in place. And he'll continue to be vigilant. Even though it was a dog, not a wolf, that attacked Taz and nearly carried the smaller dog away, the animal was more than capable of causing damage.
Taz suffered four puncture wounds in the attack.
"It's still hard for me to believe it wasn't a wolf, after what I saw," Ogg said. "We'll keep our eyes out."