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Mackay woman grabs mountain lion after it attacks her dog


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The following is a news release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Early on the morning of Jan. 30, a woman responded to what she thought was a fight between her dog and another dog outside of her Mackay home. As she pulled the two animals apart, she realized that in one hand she held a juvenile, male mountain lion about 35 pounds, and not another dog as she expected.

The woman restrained both her dog and the mountain lion while yelling for her husband, who was still inside the house, to grab a gun. Her husband responded and quickly dispatched the mountain lion as she held on to it.

The couple immediately called the local authorities, and a Fish and Game officer arrived within 30 minutes of the incident. The responding officer retrieved the mountain lion carcass for testing at the Wildlife Health and Forensic Laboratory to determine if disease may have played a part in the lion’s behavior.

The woman and her dog both appear to be doing fine, but did sustain some scratches during the encounter. She was advised by the Fish and Game officer to seek the attention of her doctor.

This was the third incident in January of a mountain lion attacking a dog. A dog was killed by a mountain lion in the Ketchum area, and another dog in the Bellevue area was attacked and later died from its injuries.

Also in January, a young, female mountain lion was killed by police in Lava Hot Springs after it was reported wandering through town and showing little fear of humans. The lion was malnourished and appeared blind in one eye.

People who live near wintering deer should understand there is likely to be mountain lions nearby, too, and they should be aware of their surroundings, and not leave their pets outside and unattended, especially in early mornings, late evenings and at night when mountain lions are most active.

Idaho has an abundant and sustainable mountain lion population, but when lions attack pets, come too close people and communities, it creates a potential public safety hazard. Fish and Game officials are unwilling to take that risk and let them wander freely in towns.

Idaho has never had a recorded incident of a mountain lion killing a person, but two human fatalities by mountain lions occurred in Oregon and Washington in 2018, along with numerous other incidents of mountain lions encroaching in populated areas in Idaho.