Woman Pulls Apart ‘Dog Fight’ to Find Herself Holding a Mountain Lion

February 7, 2019 Updated: February 7, 2019

A woman pried apart what she thought were fighting dogs outside her Idaho home only to discover the animal she was gripping in one hand was a juvenile mountain lion.

According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), a woman was alerted to her dog fighting outside her home in the small town of Mackay on the morning of Jan. 30.

Assuming it was another dog, she intervened.

“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,” said a statement from IDFG. “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.”

According to the IDFG both the woman and dog are doing fine but picked up some scratches.

Mountain lion walking on leaves
A mountain lion in California in a November 2014 file photo. (National Park Service, via AP, File)

The small town of Mackay lies between the White Knob Mountain Range and the Lost River Mountain Range, home to the highest mountains in the state, earning it the nickname, “Top of Idaho.”

Rare Attacks on Humans

According to the IDFG, Idaho has an abundant and sustainable mountain lion population.

The incident in Mackay was the third incident that month of a mountain lion attacking a dog.

IDFG advises, “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. ”

Mountain lion attacks on humans are rare.

mountain lion colorado
A mountain lion makes its way through fresh snow in the foothills outside of Golden, Colo., April 3, 2014. (Rick Wilking/Reuters/File Photo)

There have been no recorded incidents of mountain lions killing people in Idaho, according to IDFG, but two human fatalities by mountain lions occurred in Oregon and Washington in 2018.

Just a few days after the incident in Idaho, a trail runner fought off a mountain lion in Colorado, sustaining serious injuries from bites before he broke free and killed the animal.

Later reports stated that he had chocked the animal to death.

The unnamed man got himself to the hospital after the incident in the foothills of Horsetooth Mountain on  Feb. 4, with what the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) department describes as serious, but nonlife-threatening injuries.”

The jogger heard something behind him on the trail, said a CPW statement, and when he turned round to check it out, a mountain lion launched itself at him.

The lion was a juvenile.

“The lion lunged at the runner, biting his face and wrist,” said the CPW statement. “He was able to fight and break free from the lion, killing the lion in self-defense.”

‘We Recommend Targeting the Eyes and Nose’

“The runner did everything he could to save his life. In the event of a lion attack you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did,” said Mark Leslie, Colorado Parks Wildlife Northeast Region manager, in a statement.

Adult males can typically reach 180 pounds, and females 130 pounds. Some rare ones have topped 200 pounds. Adult males will measure 6 to 8 feet from nose to tail tip and females 5 to 7 feet.

Those who are lucky—or unlucky—enough to have a rare encounter are advised by the CWP to stay calm, talk firmly to it, and never turn your back on the animal.

“Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely,” said the CWP advice. “Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.”

Three orphaned 11-month-old cougar cubs play at an animal park in California on April 26, 2007. Cougar (David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

Never approach a lion, especially one with kittens.

If the lion behaves aggressively, the advice is to throw stones, branches or whatever is to hand—but “without crouching down or turning your back. ”

“Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools, and their bare hands successfully. We recommend targeting the eyes and nose as these are sensitive areas.”

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