Six dogs have been killed by wolves in northern Minnesota in the last five weeks, outpacing last year's total for the entire state.

Six dogs have been killed by wolves in northern Minnesota in the last five weeks, outpacing last year's total for the entire state.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports most incidents have happened near Duluth. Four other dogs have been seriously hurt.

Controls on gray wolves in Minnesota have been limited since a federal judge put the animal back on the endangered species list in December. Now, Minnesota residents can only kill wolves in defense of human life.

Minnesota also can't hold managed wolf hunts, but if an attack on pets or wildlife is confirmed, federal officials can trap and kill wolves within a half mile of where it happened.

There are about 2,400 wolves in Minnesota, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. Residents in a rural area between Duluth and Two Harbors say they're seeing more wolves than usual.

Laurie Anderson, who lives in that area, saw her 12-pound poodle, Curly Moe, get taken away by a wolf earlier this month.

"The wolf grabbed Curly by the neck, and headed down toward what we call the West Branch of the Knife River," Anderson said. "And I've never seen my little dog again."

John Hart, supervisor of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services Program in Grand Rapids, said wolves aren't finding as much food in areas where they normally search. He said they're going to where deer are, which happens to be where people live.

Department of Natural Resources officials say residents near wolves shouldn't panic, but should take precautions. Dan Stark, the agency's specialist for large carnivores, said people should feed pets inside and fence yards.

"Wolves live in a lot of different places in northern Minnesota, and don't cause problems, and people rarely have interactions with them," Stark said. "It is just something to be aware of, and in some cases cautious about it."