Wednesday, March 28, 2007

California: Family of mauled dog wants cougar tracked

03/23/07 12:30 PDT

The owners of a dog that was put down Wednesday after a mountain lion mauled it in their rural backyard want the state Department of Fish and Game to track the animal.

Shelley Anderson said this morning she doesn't necessarily want the adult mountain lion killed but she is concerned about her two children ages 5 and 8. She said she might hire a trapper to find the lion and kill it.

"They need to take care of it,'' she said regarding the Fish and Game Department.

"I'm keeping my children inside at dusk,'' Anderson said.

Anderson said she and her husband were instantly awakened around 2 a.m. Wednesday by "a terrible noise" outside an open bedroom window at their Fitch Mountain Road home. Anderson's husband Brad went outside with a flashlight and discovered a fully-grown mountain lion 10 feet away with the family dog's head in its mouth. The lion took off in about three seconds, Anderson said.

Her husband brought the 11-year-old, 50-pound female Labrador-mix dog, Emma, inside the house and the dog was taken to a veterinarian around 8 a.m., Anderson said. It was decided that because of the dog's age it was best to put her down, Anderson said.

A neighbor found mountain lion prints and scat containing deer and cat bones in the area Thursday, Anderson said. There are other homes in the area bordered by miles of open space, Anderson said, and there also are coyotes in the area. Sheep have also been killed nearby, she said.

Anderson's family recently acquired a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy that will be strictly an indoor pet, Anderson said. Emma was in the habit of sleeping on a 50-foot hill in the yard during warm weather, she said. The family also has two indoor cats.

The state Department of Fish and Game did not immediately respond to questions about the family's request that the mountain lion be tracked.

Department officials in the past have said families living in rural areas must remember their homes are in coyote, deer and mountain lion habitat and that they can take measures, including not leaving food outdoors, to lessen the chances of contact with the natural predators that typically feed on deer. bcn/2007/03/23/n/HeadlineNews/ MOUNTAIN-LION/resources_bcn_html

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