A pack of dogs has killed about 100 animals in the past three months while eluding law enforcement and volunteers in northeastern Washington state.
The killings are happening in a wide area of mountains and valleys west of Deer Park, a small town about 40 miles north of Spokane, authorities said.
"Trying to figure out where they are going to hit is next to impossible," Stevens County Undersheriff Lavonne Webb said Thursday. "Nobody is claiming ownership of any animals involved in the pack."
In their most recent attack, the dogs killed a 350-pound llama earlier this week. They've also killed goats and other farm animals.
So far, no humans have been attacked. But authorities are warning residents to take whatever steps are necessary to protect their families and animals because the dogs appear to be killing for fun rather than food.
"We have this pack that is out there killing for the sake of killing," Webb said in a telephone interview from Colville. "What is going to happen if they come across a small child?"
Officers have tried to track the pack but had little success because the dogs seem to hunker down during the day and move only at night, Webb said.
"We've only had one or two sightings during daytime hours," she said.
Webb added she has worked for the sheriff's office since the 1970s and not encountered a similar problem before. "It's become a major issue because of the number of kills," she said
Since the end of March, there have been 15 separate attacks in the county that have killed about 100 animals, Webb said. The dogs killed a number of goats last week and the llama on Tuesday night.
One resident managed to take some photographs of the pack, and it seemed to include four or five large dogs. It's not clear if the dogs are wild or if some or all go home to owners during the day, Webb said. It's also not known what breed they are.
Deer Park resident Temma Davis told KXLY-TV that neighbors are worried about kids getting off school buses or riding their bikes.
"They're bloodthirsty," Davis said of the dogs. She related the experience to the 1980s Stephen King book and movie about a vicious killer dog, saying "It's like `Cujo."'