CASS LAKE (AP) -- Authorities believe they have captured three dogs involved in at least two attacks on people over the past two weeks in central Minnesota, but they are seeking others.
Stray dogs roaming the area have been a problem for people in Cass Lake on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation and in Pike Bay Township for many years, but until recently, they were more of a nuisance than a safety issue.
A 65-year old Cass Lake woman was attacked April 18 while walking along a trail near Pike Bay. A 45-year-old woman visiting the area was attacked May 1 in nearly the same spot. The Leech Lake Department of Public Safety has received reports of at least three other incidents involving at least five more people, but those attacks have not been confirmed.
Investigators believe three dogs were involved in the first confirmed attack and eight in the second, according to animal control officer Mark Sekulich.
Sekulich said Barb Smith of Cass Lake was walking through the Chippewa National Forest on April 18 when she was attacked by three dogs, which she described as short-haired and vicious.
The animals eventually left her alone but not before she was injured badly enough to require hospital treatment.
Three more attacks were reported the following weekend, one involving as many as eight dogs, two adults and six puppies. Three bicyclists -- two children and an adult -- were reportedly attacked in another incident, according to Sekulich.
"We don't want people to be scared of going outside, but we don't want it to be taken lightly, either," he said.
Police did not provide the name of the woman involved in the May 1 attack.
The three animals picked up last week are in the dog impound kennel and, if nobody claims them, they may be destroyed. Sekulich said traps have been set for the others.
While it is unusual for domestic dogs to become vicious, dogs take on a different mentality when they run in packs, Sekulich said.
The dogs that wander the area are either strays or animals that have left their homes. He said that some of the animals that have been picked up have collars and wear tags but their owners no longer want them or no longer live in the area.
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