Mountain lions are attacking dogs in central Idaho. Last week, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) confirmed five separate incidences where mountain lions attacked with the last one happening Dec. 23, CBS Idaho News reports.
IDFG officers responded to a call from a Wood River Valley resident after the owner’s Labrador retriever was attacked by a mountain lion in the unfenced backyard. According to CBS Idaho News, the dog was let out at 6:15 a.m. and “shortly after [the owners] heard ‘loud noises’ coming from the backyard.” The owners interrupted the attack and the mountain lion let the dog go. Fortunately, while the dog suffered several injuries, it survived and is already back home.
In other instances, three of the dogs have died.
According to IDFG, “Mountain lions typically prey on elk and deer, but will opportunistically take other animals when they are present. 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.”
The area where the last attacked occurred is where a mule deer herd is known to be, which is likely the reason behind the mountain lion being in the same area.
Even a 6’ high fence won’t keep a mountain lion out of your backyard, so if you have pets in a known mountain lion area, you should definitely monitor them when they are outside. Here’s some tips from IDFG to keep your home safe if you live in mountain lion country:
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 IDFG Magic Valley Regional Office.