Tucson dog walker suffers broken leg after javelina attack

A dog walker was badly hurt after being attacked by a javelina in Tucson, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The 58-year-old was reportedly walking the dog near Craycroft and 22nd on March 7 when the javelina charged at them.

Wildlife officials say the Tucson resident suffered a broken leg and was treated at the hospital for their injuries.

"Javelina think dogs are coyotes; victims get hurt defending their dogs," officials said on Twitter. "Go the other way ASAP when javelina are seen."

Wildlife officials are warning the attack is part of a pattern they typically see during this season. When we have incredible weather, people and animals want to be out and about, increasing the chances of humans and wildlife to interact.

When their young are involved, that can increase tensions, too.

Mark Hart with the Arizona Game and Fish Department says they believe there were young javelina nearby, further provoking the attack. While the dog is OK, from what he understands, he points out these kinds of attacks are more common than people think.

"I would estimate every three to six months we have an attack by a javelina involving a dog walker, and Phoenix isn’t that dissimilar to Tucson, at least with areas that are in the urban and wildlife interface. Assume if you live near a wash, that wildlife can use it, think of it as a wildlife superhighway," Hart said, especially if you have any attractants in your neighborhood – food, water, or shelter.

This wasn’t the only attack in the area either.

"A worker at the Asarco mines south of Tucson was bit on the foot on Sunday. The bite did not puncture his boot, so he was uninjured," Hart said, but this time was by a coyote who they believe was defensive as pups are in the dens from March to May.

Hart says to be aware of your surroundings during this time of the year.

"Enjoy wildlife at a distance, but be respectful because they are wild animals after all, and their behavior can be very unpredictable and sudden," he warned.

Officials say if you see javelina while walking a dog, turn around immediately. You can also deter wildlife by spraying water, yelling, or clapping your hands.

Another important tip to mention is illegal feeding – wildlife officials ask you to be mindful of unsecured trash, pet food left outside or fallen fruit from trees that could be attracting these critters.

If you see this activity, you’re urged to call Arizona Game and Fish Department's Wildlife Center at 623-236-7201.

Area where the attack happened: