Woman’s dog a ‘hero’ in Northern California mountain lion attack

Woman's dog a 'hero' in Northern California mountain lion attack

On Monday afternoon, a woman and her Belgian Malinois named Eva began walking along a trail off Highway 299 near the Northern California town of Big Bar, a little over an hour’s drive west of Redding.

While walking with her dog ahead of her, she saw movement and was “instantly struck and swiped at by a mountain lion,” said Capt. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Law Enforcement Division.

“She screamed and the dog immediately engaged the mountain lion,” Foy said. “They were in the middle of a pretty vicious fight.”

The woman and a passerby fought the lion off, but Eva was badly injured.

“My dog is my hero,” Erin Wilson, 24, told the Sacramento Bee. “And I owe her my life.”

Eva may have had her own heroes — Wilson and the passerby, identified by the Bee as Sharon Houston, suffered non-life-threatening scratches and bite wounds fighting off the big cat as it held Eva in its jaws.

“The dog is not going to win that,” Foy said.

Wilson told the Bee that she hit the lion with rocks and sticks and tried to choke it and gouge its eyes. She was scratched by the cat’s hind legs as it kicked her away.

Wilson said she ran back to her vehicle a short distance away and flagged down Houston, who armed herself with a length of PVC pipe and pepper spray.

Together they attacked the cat until it ran off.

Wilson said Eva was bleeding from her mouth and rushed her to an emergency vet nearly 90 minutes away. Eva went into convulsions during the drive, she told the Bee.

According to a GoFundMe page Wilson started to cover Eva’s vet bills, the dog suffered two skull fractures, a puncture to her sinus cavity and swelling around her left eye.

“The vet is optimistic,” Wilson wrote.

The campaign had garnered about $10,000 in donations as of early Wednesday.

Mountain lion attacks are rare in California considering the state’s population and the ranges of the big cats.

“At least in my career, I’m not aware of any time we’ve ever had a major incident related to a mountain lion in Trinity County,” Foy said.

According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, there have been 11 recorded mountain lion attacks since 2000, not including Tuesday’s incident.

The most recent attack occurred in Calabasas in August. A 65-pound male juvenile cougar mauled and badly injured a 5-year-old boy; the animal was later shot and killed by a wildlife agent.

After Tuesday’s incident, wildlife officers took swabs from Wilson’s wounds and those of her dog to look for mountain lion DNA and perhaps identify the big cat, Foy said.

Officials are looking for the lion, but it is not yet clear what may happen to it if and when it is trapped, Foy said.

“There’s been no decision yet made on that one,” Foy said, noting that euthanasia has been an option in past incidents.

As summer approaches, with millions of Californians set to visit the outdoors, Foy said he did not want “the public to be unnecessarily alarmed when these incidents occur.”

“It is extremely unlikely that you’re going to be attacked by a mountain lion even if you’re hiking in the middle of mountain lion country,” he said. “But it’s also important to know what to do if confronted by a lion … stand tall, shout aggressively at the animal, throw rocks and certainly fight back if attacked.”

Soruce : https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-05-18/northern-california-mountain-lion-attack-dog-hero

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