Be Aware of Wildlife: Take Precautions

Animal Control officials are looking into a report of a dog that was injured by wildlife, possibly a bear, this week in the Great Falls area.

A veterinarian who was treating the dog for its wounds called Fairfax County personnel on Tuesday, July 21 and reported that the dog sustained injury in the 100 block of River Park Lane as a result of an encounter with wildlife at some point on Sunday evening.

“Without a witness, it is hard to say exactly what happened to cause the dog’s injury, but in an abundance of caution, animal control and wildlife management personnel remind residents to keep their pets contained to their property and monitor their time outdoors,” said Katherine Edwards, Ph.D., Certified Wildlife Biologist for Fairfax County.

Trail cameras are being set up on Thursday, July 23 in wooded areas near the River Park Lane incident. Footage will be monitored for any unusual wildlife activity taking place in the area.

Dr. Edwards added that, “Fairfax County does not have record of any similar incidents but there are cases where injuries resulted from dogs attacking other dogs and those were erroneously attributed to wildlife.”

Typically black bear are not aggressive and will retreat when encountered.

Animal Control works very closely with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) to investigate any issues involving black bears and other wildlife.

So far, in 2015, VDGIF has received reports of twelve bear sightings, most recently on July 22 in the Chantilly area.

Most bears are attracted to property because of an available food source.

Simple tips to minimize interactions with bears and other wildlife include:

  • Keep a respectful distance
  • Making sure to secure your trash or contain it in an animal-proof dumpster
  • Do not leave pet food outside
  • Take down your birdfeeder for 3–4 weeks after a bear visits
  • Leash walk pets and do not leave them unattended outside
  • If you see a bear or have any questions, contact the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Hotline at (855) 571-9003.
Photo of wounded dog in Great Falls area this week. Photo is courtesy of NBC News 4.

Photo of wounded dog in Great Falls area this week. Photo is courtesy of NBC 4.