An Alaska court services officer died Tuesday after being attacked by a muskox while trying to protect his dogs from a herd of the hoofed animals outside his home, officials said.
Officer Curtis Worland, with the Alaska State Troopers, was trying to scare away several muskoxen that surrounded a sled dog kennel on his property near Nome when one of the beasts lunged at him, according to the agency.
Worland was pronounced dead from his injuries at the scene.
Nome Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Departments Chief Jim West Jr. told The Nome Nugget that Worland had a large wound to the femoral artery in his thigh.
“Curtis proudly wore the Court Services Officer uniform and honorably served the people of Alaska for 13 years,” Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell said.
Worland was hired as a court services officer in December 2009 and had served at the Nome Alaska State Trooper post for the entire duration of his career.
Court services officers are law enforcement officers that provide prisoner transport services, courthouse security and court document service, troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel said.
McDaniel could not immediately say how many animals were part of the herd that Worland was trying to keep away from his sled dog team, which he and his wife kept in their yard.
The Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers and state Department of Fish and Game are investigating the officer’s death.
Muskoxen are stocky, long-haired animals with slight shoulder humps and horns and can weigh up to 800 pounds, according to the fish and game department.
Muskoxen are common in and around Nome — a city of 3,700 on the coast of the Bering Sea — and have a history of goring and killing dogs, including one of Worland’s animals that was attacked in December 2020.
Tuesday’s incident marks the first time a person was killed by a muskox in Nome.
With Post wires