More sheep have been killed by a wolf or wolves in northwestern Whitman County since the county’s first attack in decades occurred on Dec. 9.
On Sunday, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials investigated three dead sheep where about 1,200 sheep are being pastured in stubble fields near the Spokane and Lincoln county borders.
One of three Anatolian shepherds protecting the sheep has been missing for about a week and is presumed dead, the ranchers said. The mother and sister of the missing 4-year-old male dog also were with the sheep but are unharmed.
Both wolf depredation events occurred on sheep belonging to Whitman County Commissioner Art Swannack near his ranch north of Lamont.
Wildlife officials confirmed on Wednesday that one pregnant ewe was killed by a wolf or wolves. The other two sheep could not positively be confirmed as wolf kills because the remains were too sparse, said Nate Pamplin, the agency’s assistant director in Olympia.
“Apparently, some of the sheep got out of the pasture that is surrounded by an electric fence on Dec. 14,” he said. Some sheep escaped the fence after a post pulled out from the freezing-thawing ground in a draw, he said.
The sheep were killed a half mile outside of the fenced area.
The sheep killed on Dec. 9 also had escaped through a portion of downed fence.