Wolves

In this February 2018 photo, the city of Anacortes had signs posted and a natural barrier constructed where city trails meet Predators of the Heart property.

*UDPATED, 3 p.m.

The Anacortes Community Forest Lands trails reopened on early Tuesday afternoon after three wolves that had escaped their enclosure at a neighboring wildlife refuge were captured.

While on the loose, the wolf-dog hybrids attacked and killed a neighbor's dog, the Skagit County Sheriff's Office said in a Tuesday afternoon news release. 

No people were injured. 

The Sheriff's Office Animal Control unit located the wolves and returned them to their facility, the news release states. Chief Criminal Deputy Tobin Meyer said the wolves were on the loose for less than 30 minutes before they were captured by Animal Control. 

The wildlife sanctuary, called Predators of the Heart, abuts the Little Cranberry Lake area of the community forest lands.

The sheriff's office, which has jurisdiction over the wildlife refuge property, alerted the city of Anacortes to the wolves' escape on Tuesday morning. As a precaution, the city temporarily closed forest land trails until the wolves were contained. 

Predators of the Heart did not immediately respond to request for comment on Tuesday.

In September 2017, two leashed wolves broke away and killed the dog of a hiker in the Little Cranberry Lake area who had mistakenly walked onto wildlife refuge property, the Anacortes American reported in February 2018.

The incident prompted the city to install signs and try to clarify the trail boundary between the forest lands and the wildlife refuge property. 

In October 2017, a wolf jumped a 7-foot electric fence and went onto a neighbor's property, according to sheriff's office reports. In 2012, a wolf escaped its enclosure and was captured in the forest lands.

Predators of the Heart, a registered nonprofit, houses exotic animals including wolves, cougars, bobcats, birds of prey and other species on 10 acres, and aims to educate the public about wildlife, according to its website.

The nonprofit offers a popular Airbnb experience that invites guests to meet its "wolf ambassadors" and other animals.

Skagit County previously filed a lawsuit against Predators of the Heart for failing to comply with a 2014 ordinance regulating potentially dangerous animals. The county later dropped the lawsuit, after finding a state exemption that permits the exhibition of potentially dangerous wild animals at state fairs.

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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