CASPER, Wyo. — Five mountain lion attacks on dogs were reported in the span of a week in the Wood River Valley in Idaho.
Three dogs died as a result of those attacks, according to Idaho Fish and Game Regional Communications Manager Terry Thompson.
The latest attack was reported on Monday, Dec. 23 involving an attack on a Labrador retriever north of Hailey.
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“The homeowner reported letting their dog out about 6:15 a.m. that morning, then shortly after, hearing loud noises in their backyard,” Thompson writes. “They immediately checked and found a mountain lion attacking their dog in the unfenced backyard. Shortly after the homeowner confronted the lion, it let the dog go.”
“The dog received injuries in the attack, but survived and is back home with its owners.”
The attacks on dogs may be increasing due to a prevalence of elk and mule deer in the area.
“Mountain lions typically prey on elk and deer, but will opportunistically take other animals when they are present,” Thompson says. “Elk and mule deer have become year-round residents of the Wood River Valley which is seemingly increasing the number of predators throughout the area.”
“Residents and visitors to the Wood River Valley are reminded to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings, especially during the early morning and evening hours.”
With mountain lions able to “easily jump” six foot fences, Thompson urges pet owners to monitor their animals and check the area when letting their pets outside.
“If possible, [owners] should accompany them when outside, especially when it’s dark,” he adds. “When walking your pet, keep them on a leash.”
Other safety advice includes:
-Don’t feed your pets outside, or leave their food dishes outside your home.
=Ensure there are no spaces around your home accessible to a mountain lion to use as a den, such as under decks, sheds, or window wells.
-Turn on exterior lights when going outside your home when it’s dark outside.
-If you encounter a mountain lion, do not run away! Make yourself look as big as possible, yell, and slowly back away from the encounter. Do not turn your back on the lion. Bear spray may be a good safety item to carry with you as well.
-Wood River Valley residents and visitors should immediately report any encounter that results in an attack to the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359 during business hours. If after hours, local Conservation Officers can be reached by calling the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline at 1-800-632-5999.
-Reports can also be made to the Blaine County Sheriff at (208) 788-5555.
-Observations of a mountain lion in your area should also be reported to the Fish and Game, Magic Valley Regional Office.Idaho Fish and Game