Hero Dog in Serious Condition After Saving Owner From Mountain Lion Attack
According to a GoFundMe by Erin Wilson, the dog’s owner, she was walking at the White Bar Picnic area beside Hwy 299 between Del Loma and Big Bar in Trinity County when a mountain lion attacked her. “It swiped at me, scratching my left shoulder,” she wrote. “I yelled out for help from my dog Eva. She was only a few yards ahead of me and attacked the lion.”
The cat did not retreat. “They battled for a few moments until i heard her cry,” Wilson wrote. “The cat had her by the left side of her head. For the next several minutes i tried everything i could to free her. Eventually i ran to my vehicle for a weapon and flagged down assistance from a kind woman named Sharon. Together we beat at the cat while yelling until my dog was let go.” (Sharon’s detailed story of fighting off the mountain lion is here.)
Wilson described a horrifying hourlong trip to get to the vet over rural roads. “[M]idway through Eva began convulsing for several minutes at a time,” Wilson said. “I didn’t think she’d make it… .”
The vet told Wilson that her beloved “hero dog” had “2 fractures to her skull, a puncture into the sinus cavity and severe swelling around her left eye, which is impeding her vision.”
Wilson reached out to the public for help saying, “My dog is my hero and i owe her my life” and within a few hours she had surpassed her goal of $7500.
Below is an Instagram post showing Eva recovering enough to eat some dog food from Wilson’s fingers.
View this post on Instagram
Meanwhile, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife issued information about their search for the mountain lion. They reported that Wilson “drove herself to receive medical treatment in Redding. Her injuries consist of bite wounds, scratches, bruises and abrasions, but are non-life threatening.”
In addition, CDFW reports, “Wildlife officers have interviewed the victim, the passerby, the veterinarian and the emergency medical physician, and have worked with each of them to collect appropriate samples for analysis.”
They state, “The samples were delivered to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento and are being processed. Although DNA analysis from samples taken during the investigation are the most reliable way to conclusively prove an attack has occurred, initial evidence from the investigation is strong enough to allow wildlife officers to treat the investigation as a legitimate attack.”
In conclusion, they state, “Those in the area should be aware that CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division is working with allied agency partners to trap the offending mountain lion and will further evaluate the situation if it is caught.”
According to the National Park Service speaking about how to defend against mountain lions:
If the mountain lion moves in your direction or acts aggressively:
- Do all you can to appear intimidating.
- Attempt to appear larger by raising your arms and opening your jacket if you are wearing one. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice.
- If looking bigger doesn’t scare the mountain lion off, without crouching or turning your back, start throwing stones, branches, or whatever you can reach in its direction (e.g., toward it, but not directly at it). Aim for the ground in front of it; don’t throw things directly at it just yet. Think of these as warning shots. You aren’t wanting to hit and unnecessarily injure the mountain lion, but you do want to show it that you can defend yourself and potentially injure it. And that will hopefully deter it from approaching any closer.With that said, your safety is of the utmost importance and the National Park Service won’t necessarily prosecute you for harassment of wildlife if something you throw at an aggressive mountain lion does make contact. Again, during the initial stages of a mountain lion encounter, the idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it.One might ask: “How do I reach stones or branches without bending down?” If you are in a trailcut, you could get rocks to throw from the side of the trailcut. If you are in a wooded area, you might be able to find a loose branch within reach, or feel free to break branches off of trees or shrubs, if necessary. If you are with others, the shorter/smaller individuals could bend down close behind taller/bigger individuals (make it look as much as possible like you are all one big animal) and provide the taller/bigger individuals with rocks or sticks to throw. However, stones and branches may not always be readily within reach. But you will probably be carrying a backpack or fanny pack containing hard items that can be thrown, like water bottles, and you could retrieve those while remaining upright to use as projectiles. But don’t throw everything you have, though. You might want to hold on to one metallic or hard plastic water bottle in reserve to use as a club or as weight in your backpack or fanny pack, which can be swung at the cat if it gets close enough. So, most hikers will have some options, even if they can’t bend down to pick up rocks or sticks.
If the mountain lion continues to move in your direction:
- Start throwing things AT it. Again, your safety is more important than the mountain lion’s, so you should feel free to continue to escalate the level of hostility to intimidate and scare off the mountain lion. Initially during this stage, aim for its body as accurately as you can, but avoid aiming at its head. Aiming at its head could result in the cat being blinded in one eye, which could make it more dangerous to other hikers who later visit the park. Mountain lions are very dependent upon their sight—particularly depth perception—in order to successfully hunt their natural prey. Many of the relatively few attacks by mountain lions on humans in the USA are by individuals who are injured, stressed, and/or hungry. A hungry, stressed mountain lion with only one good eye, upon observing an abundance of slow, frequently inattentive* bipeds on park trails may attack one of us humans, hoping for an easy meal. (* Put your earbuds and smart phone away and enjoy the natural quiet while you hike.)
If the mountain lion attacks you:
- Fight back! A hiker in Southern California used a rock to fend off a mountain lion that was attacking his son. Others have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools, and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal. Also, if you have a backpack, try to position it to serve as body armor or a shield.