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Local woman believes her horse was attacked and injured by a mountain lion


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Gambler. | Courtesy Fawn Molyneux

GRAPHIC WARNING: This story includes graphic images. Reader discretion is advised.

IDAHO FALLS — A horse is lucky to be alive after its owner says it was apparently attacked by a mountain lion over the weekend.

Fawn Molyneux went out to feed her nine-year-old mare, Gambler, around 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning near Fairway Estates in Idaho Falls. Gambler had been locked in a pen alone overnight, but when Molyneux went outside, she found that Gambler had broken out of it. She said that’s not Gambler’s normal behavior.

Gambler was nearby the pen and when the horse turned towards her owner, Molyneux couldn’t believe what she saw.

“It looked like a war movie,” Molyneux said. “(She was) bleeding in both eyes (and) her whole head was bloody and (her) body.”

Gambler’s left eye before getting stitches. | Courtesy Fawn Molyneux

Molyneux immediately took her to the vet, unsure of what had happened. When she got home, she began looking for any sign of animal prints to determine if an animal had attacked her horse. That’s when Molyneux said she found mountain lion prints.

“Then I’m like, ‘Oh, this makes more sense now,'” Molyneux said. “When we got her cleaned up, you could see where the deep wounds were, then you could see the claw marks. They matched the paw size (of the print we found). The paw size was about the size of my fist.”

Fawn’s fist next to the paw mark she found. | Courtesy Fawn Molyneux

She believes after Gambler escaped from the pen, the mountain lion ran off.

Molyneux said there’s also a pasture behind her property that belongs to her neighbors, and she said it also showed some evidence of the large predator.

After the incident, Molyneux had several people — some of who were unaware of what happened to her mare and others who learned about the incident on social media — reach out to her. They all said they had seen a cougar in the area. One person even told her they’d seen a mom cougar and a couple of kittens hanging around.

She called Idaho Fish and Game Saturday to report what had happened, and Monday evening she said they told her with only one attack, they can’t do much. Plus, even if people have seen a mountain lion in the area, she was told there’s no way to know that it’s the same one that attacked her horse.

“It has not been confirmed that the horse was attacked by a mountain lion. The owner of the horse had a friend or neighbor that saw a mountain lion and cub several miles away earlier in the week,” Fish and Game spokesman James Brower said. “Wildlife services has been contacted since the attack happened to livestock and will investigate.”

Molyneux has since boarded up her barn so nothing can get inside, and that’s where Gambler’s been sleeping the past few nights. Her head is still swollen, but Molyneux said she looks like she’s healing well, although it’ll be a long road to recovery.

She doesn’t want people to be scared by her sharing her experience, rather, aware and cautious.

“Fish and Game told me the only way they could really do anything is if they were getting a lot of calls (from) people saying they saw them,” she said. “So if anyone sees one, if they would report it to the Fish and Game then maybe they would realize this is a serious situation because kids live around in the neighborhood there.”

Gambler’s eye after the incident Saturday. | Courtesy Fawn Molyneux

Gambler’s left front leg. | Courtesy Fawn Molyneux

This marking is on Gambler’s hip. | Courtesy Fawn Molyneux

Gambler in the enclosed barn she’s been staying in since Saturday. | Courtesy Fawn Molyneux