South Dakota reservation rounds up feral dogs after fatal attack

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 17, 2015 7:24 PM

By Todd Epp

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Reuters) - The Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota began rounding up and destroying wild dogs on Tuesday under an emergency order issued after a woman was fatally attacked on the reservation over the weekend.

Julia Charging Whirlwind, 49, was attacked by a pack of wild dogs on Saturday morning in the Lower Swift Bear community on the reservation in south-central South Dakota, officials said.

Local media said the Mellette County sheriff had to kill two dogs before emergency workers could get to Whirlwind to try to help her.

The Rosebud council said on Monday the tribe would eradicate dogs that appear to be a nuisance, vagrant, feral, sickly or vicious.

Stray dogs have long been an issue on the largest reservations in South Dakota, including Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Cheyenne River and Standing Rock.

The attack was the second fatal dog mauling in recent months. Jayla Rodriguez, 8, was killed by feral dogs while sledding on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in November.

The FBI typically investigates deaths along with tribal law enforcement. An FBI spokesman in Minneapolis declined to comment on the Rosebud investigation.

Rosebud tribal officials and the Mellette County sheriff could not be reached immediately for comment on Tuesday.

Some tribe members criticized as unsophisticated a similar feral dog eradication program launched after the Pine Ridge fatal attack, the Rapid City Journal has reported.

Some people on the Rosebud reservation are concerned that pets will be caught in the roundup, said Dr. Donna Osment, a social worker at a dialysis clinic just north of the town of Rosebud where staff found seven abandoned 8-week-old puppies on Tuesday morning.

(Reporting by Todd Epp in Sioux Falls, S.D.; Editing by David Bailey and Peter Cooney)