Nome resident opens fire on musk ox in defense of her dog

August 14, 2012 

A musk ox near Nome.

BOB HALLINEN / ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE Buy Photo

Authorities in Nome say it would be better for dog owners to fence their yards than rely on firepower now that large numbers of dog-hating musk oxen have taken up residence in and around the Western Alaska city. Nome resident Sarah Swartz recently put her dogs out before bedtime to do their business. As The Nome Nugget reports, she soon heard one dog bark and the other yelp.

"When I went outside, there was a very large bull musk ox standing about 10 feet from where my dog should be," Swartz said.

"I couldn't see my dog anywhere," Swartz said.

"I ran back inside and grabbed the only rifle [a 0.17 caliber] that I knew had rounds in it. I shot three times at the musk ox. Meanwhile, my neighbor, Mary Ruud, called the cops," Swartz said. "The musk ox sauntered away into the high brush behind the house and disappeared."

Swartz soon found one of her dogs underneath the deck with a gash on his chest. She told responding police that she's sure she hit the musk ox with more than one bullet.

"I will go to jail anytime for shooting to protect my 6-year-old stepdaughter, my family, my dog and my property," Swartz vowed. ... "It's not the musk ox's fault. I love musk ox. They are fascinating animals that give beauty, meat and qiviut for warm clothing, but something has to be done," she said.

Click here to see photos, and read more in The Nome Nugget: Musk ox bull gores pet

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