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Javelina encounters in Phoenix area on rise

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Jo-Jo, after his surgery. Jo-Jo, after his surgery.
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

Arizona's Game and Fish Department says there have been nearly four times the amount of Javelina encounters in the past decade. In 2003, there were 93 incidents. In 2013, that number was 347.

"(The increase) largely has to do with urban expansion and the amount of urban areas that are peripheral to wild adjacent lands," said Randy Babb with the department.

He said most of those encounters were not dangerous, though a handful were.

"The wildest Javelina will attack a dog if they get a chance. They absolutely hate dogs," said Babb.

Heidi Deitrich learned that first hand.

"My dog and I, Jo-Jo, got up Thanksgiving morning and went out at 6 a.m.," she recalled.

It was supposed to be like any other morning walk, but then Deitrich said she heard some strange noises.

"All I heard were hooves. I couldn't see anything. I got knocked over to the ground. (Jo-Jo) wiggled out of his collar and he got away. I couldn't see anything, but I heard this horrible fight ensuing with him and this pack of however many Javelinas," she recalled.

Heidrich started screaming and called for her dog to return. He did, but he was seriously hurt.

"He was slashed open from the horns or the hooves or whatever, and I could see his stomach," she said.

Heidrich rushed Jo-Jo to the vet, and an emergency operation was performed. He was able to survive, but it cost his owner about $4,000.

Neighbors in areas that border undeveloped land say they're more likely to spot the animals, which sometimes use the developed washes and tunnels to travel inside gated communities.

Game and Fish Department officials say Javelinas rarely attack humans; however they consider dogs predators, so they often become aggressive around them.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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