Carol Browning straps a pistol to her hip before stepping outside the house.
She said she never knows when the dogs that live across Wolf Lodge Creek Road from her house will stray. Browning blames the wolf-hybrids for killing one of her dogs and attacking two others and said she has fended the animals off three times with gunfire.
“I wouldn’t mind so much if a friend’s dog comes over once in a while to see my dogs,” said Browning, 50, who also keeps a rifle and video camera handy. “These dogs come to kill my dogs.”
Tom and Paula Evans said that’s nonsense. Their wolf-hybrids are curious but gentle animals.
“They’re all friendly,” Paula Evans said Thursday. “We have no ‘Beware of dog’ signs.”
A dispute between the neighbors has escalated quickly during the months since the Evanses moved late last spring to Coeur d’Alene from Montana. Sheriff’s deputies are watching.
The Evanses, who are planning to move, blame Browning’s quick trigger finger for the feud.
“She has been out with her rifle instead of talking to us,” Paula Evans said.
Animal-control officers have been called several times but have not been able to resolve the disagreement. Court records show Paula Evans has received two citations for letting the dogs run at large.
“It’s extremely tense,” said sheriff’s deputy Jason Shaw.
During an interview this week, Browning said the dogs quickly became a nuisance. She has discovered them on her property attacking her dogs, chasing her ducks, pestering her horses and charging a flock of wild turkeys.
She filed a lawsuit against her neighbors earlier this month in hopes of finding some relief.
“From the time they came, the big, black dog was always loose,” Browning said. “They let him run when I’m gone hoping that he will be back before I am.”
Tom Evans said he and his wife have never knowingly allowed their pets to roam free off their property, but did acknowledge a large black timber-wolf mix has broken free a few times.
Browning discovered the first of what she said were four attacks on her dogs when she stepped onto her front porch one day last August.
She said a large “wolf dog” scurried from under the porch and out of her yard, leaving behind Browning’s battered, 19-year-old fox terrier. The next day, her black poodle, which would later be attacked again, according to Browning, was bitten.
A week later, Browning said her 15-year-old Springer was mauled while trying to defend a flock of wild turkeys on her property. The dog died about a week later. Browning believes the death was due to “trauma” from the attack.
“After this happened I started putting on my pistol,” Browning said. “Now I always wear my pistol because I never know what might happen.”
So far, none of the bullets Browning says she’s fired have found their mark. Since her most recent shooting attempts last week, she’s bought a 20-gauge shotgun.
“I’m going to get (the dogs) next time,” Browning said.
Across the street, the Evans’ accused Browning of keeping them under surveillance and describe the situation as “a war zone.” They have responded by posting “No trespassing” signs on the fence around their property and installing a video camera to watch over their yard when they are gone.
They have had enough and want out.
“The situation the way it is, it’s not going to go away,” Tom Evans said. “The best thing for us to do is just move.”
The Evans’, on the advice of their lawyer, declined to discuss specifics about the dispute. However, the couple said they believe Browning’s lack of knowledge about wolves have caused her unwarranted fear.
They also said the woman has a reputation for feuding with neighbors who live across the street from her. Browning was issued three citations by deputies based on complaints about her dogs filed by the man who sold the house to the Evans’, court records show.
“If she wants to complain about our dogs barking I guess she probably could,” Paula Evans said. “But if she wants to complain about them being vicious and jumping at cars that’s not true.”
The couple has kept wolf-hybrids for parts of two decades. A gift from a friend started their most recent collection six years ago.
Currently, they keep about a dozen tied to cables in their yard or in an elaborate pen behind their house.
The county’s animal ordinance requires the Evans’ to have a kennel license, which animal control officers said they have. The couple said they also carry a Department of Agriculture license to keep two pure wolves and the wolf-hybrids.
“We would be misrepresenting the animals if we said they were mean,” Paula Evans said.
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