MARQUETTE - Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials are investigating a report of several beagles being killed by wolves in the eastern Upper Peninsula.
In a news release Thursday, state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, said the reported attack and killings near Rudyard "points to the dire need and urgency for improved management of the wolf population in the Upper Peninsula."
Casperson sponsored legislation that has led to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission reclassifying wolves as game species and authorizing the state's first wolf hunt this fall. The total wolf kill will be limited to 43 wolves from three wolf management zones in the U.P.
"While groups including the Humane Society of the U.S. continue their efforts to stop a much-needed, recently approved, and limited wolf hunting season in certain parts of the UP, I continue to hear of more about the very real danger that wolves present, including incidents of wolves killing pets, wildlife and livestock," Casperson said.
Citing an ongoing investigation by the DNR, Casperson said "the attack occurred while nine beagles were being trained by several individuals visiting the Upper Peninsula. Reportedly, at least five of the dogs were killed with others injured or still missing."
However, DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason said Friday not all of the facts have been verified in the reported wolf-beagle incident.
"We're not quite sure what's going on," Mason said.
Mason said an out-of-state resident contacted the DNR, sending photographs showing dead dogs, consistent with a wolf kill. However, Mason said DNR staff was unable to find the site where the killings were said to have occurred.
Mason said the man reported all the dogs had been killed, but one was located malnourished and fitted with a radio collar at a local animal shelter. When contacted, the man said he didn't want the dog back, Mason said.
The investigation is ongoing and more information is expected to be released as it becomes available.
"I think we should know something here fairly soon," Mason said.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org