A couple on horseback near Mazama, accompanied by their off-leash dog, recently encountered a wolf that bit the dog, according to a state wildlife official.

The couple were trail riding near Mazama in late April when they spotted an animal in the woods, according to Donny Martorello, wolf policy lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Their 25-pound mixed breed dog chased the suspected wolf, which turned and bit the dog on the left hindquarters.

“One of the dog’s owners fired a handgun into the air, which startled the wolf and allowed the dog to run to safety,” Martorello said.

A local veterinarian later examined the dog and noted bruising and a puncture wound on the left hip. The vet administered antibiotics and other medication, but the dog did not need stitches.

Afterward, a WDFW conflict specialist and enforcement officers, with a deputy from the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office, investigated the incident, Martorello said.

“They found no blood or signs of a struggle, but found a possible wolf track about three-tenths of a mile south of the site of the incident. Based on the witness reports and that evidence, we classified this as a probable wolf incident,” he said.