Idaho camper shoots family dog, mistaking it for wolf

Wolf Population

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A family dog is recovering after she was shot twice last weekend by a camper in Idaho who mistook the pet for a wolf, a family said. She is actually an Alaskan malamute.

Rob Kolb and his 16-year-old daughter, Piper, started their backpacking trip on Friday in the Boulder Mountains in central Idaho with their 6-year-old dog named Suki, the Idaho Statesman reported. They set up camp that night.

The next morning, Rob Kolb woke up to use the bathroom, leaving Suki outside the tent, where she wandered to a nearby campsite. He told the Idaho Statesman that he woke up again an hour later by a gunshot that was “crazy close” and then heard two more shots.

“By the time I got out of the tent, there were three guys saying ‘I think we shot your dog,’ ” Kolb said.

The Kolbs then saw Suki lying on the ground 5 feet (1.5 meters) from the tent with a gunshot wound to the left side of her head, panting with blood dripping from her mouth and ear, he said.

The man who shot Suki — whom the Kolbs denied to identify publicly — said he thought the dog was a wolf before he noticed she had a collar on, Kolb said. The man took immediate responsibility and paid for her vet bills, he said.

Veterinarian Dr. Karsten Fostvedt said the bullets missed Suki’s brain and spinal cord, but she lost part of her left ear, suffered a cracked vertebrae and remains paralyzed in the left side of her face from a potential stroke.

Kolb said he filed a report with the Custer County sheriff’s office but had not yet heard back. He said he doesn’t plan to press charges and is unsure what, if any, legal repercussions would be enforced.

The Kolbs are now urging outdoor recreators to brush up on their wildlife identification skills and exercise caution with firearms, referencing how things could have been much worse.

“Not only did our dog get hurt, but Piper and I could’ve been shot,” Rob Kolb said. “We hope people … take a little more time before they decide to shoot.”