• Outdoors Outdoors

Tourists ignore dire warning about off-leash dogs in national park: 'What they did was harassment'

Elk deal with wolves regularly, so handling a dog would be no problem.

Distressing for both elk and dog

Photo Credit: Instagram

Taking a walk with your dog in the countryside is a great way for both of you to get exercise. But in areas where animals are known to roam free, it's not the best idea to let your pooch do the same. 

Footage from 2021, which surfaced on Instagram in mid-September, shows what happened when a couple of tourists let their dog off leash when spotting a couple of elk at Banff National Park in Calgary, Alberta. 

Wildlife photographer Alec McGrath noted in the Instagram caption that the tourists pulled to the side of the road and got out of their truck to take pictures. They let their dog loose in the process. After McGrath and his wife advised the pair to put the dog back on the leash, they didn't seem too concerned and continued to let the elk and dog square off. 

While it would certainly have been distressing for both elk and dog, it was a potentially dangerous situation for the tourists to put their pet in. 

As McGrath stressed in the video, elk deal with wolves regularly, so handling a dog would be no problem. 

"They'll stomp his skull," McGrath's wife warned the pet owners. 

In 2002, a wild deer pinned a 15-year-old dachshund to the ground in Bountiful, Utah. KSLTV, as shared by Newsweek, reported that the resulting injuries led to the dog being put down.

As a dog and nature lover, McGrath was stunned by what he saw. 

"I'm very passionate about wildlife, and what they did was harassment," he told Newsweek. "I'm a big fan of innocent dogs not getting stomped to death by a 500 pound bull elk." 

He said he had reported the couple to the park warden, but he was unsure if anything came of the complaint. 

"You did good work," one Instagram comment read. 

Animal lovers everywhere will surely feel the same.

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