Otters Attack, Drown Black Lab on Echo Lake - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Otters Attack, Drown Black Lab on Echo Lake

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MISSOULA - Brian Hobday, his wife and their 80-lb. Black Lab named Ruger were at their favorite swimming hole on Echo Lake Friday evening, when a group of river otters swam from shore to attack and eventually drown the dog.

"We have been swimming at that spot for years, never would we have thought that there would have been any danger there from an otter," Hobday said.

Hobday said he was a couple hundred feet from shore when Ruger swam toward a downed log, where a strange chirping noise was coming from.

In just a matter of seconds, he saw four river otters run from the log into the water where they started attacking Ruger, pulling his head under water.

"I heard yelping and started swimming towards him... when I was about 20 feet away, one of the otters saw I was coming and decided to leave the dog and come after me," Hobday said

The otter pursued Hobday to the shore, where he grabbed a stick and ran out to help Ruger, only to realize he had already drowned.

He says the whole event happened in only a few minutes.

"Other than the downed log, there was really no sign of a den. We had no idea it was there, we've swam at that location for years and never had any incident before."

Hobday said the private access dock is in a cove tucked away from the lake, but they see other people swimming there and often bring their young nieces there to swim and fish.

"As sad as it is that Ruger had to go, at least it was him and not one of my nieces that could have easily been taken."

Wardens are still trying to capture the otters to test for rabies.

On July 10, FWP officials posted signs in the Hebgin Basin area after a woman suffered significant bites on her hand.

While otter attacks are extremely rare, FWP officials remind you they are wild animals and they can be aggressive, if they feel their pups are threatened.

 

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