A woman who stopped alongside a California highway Monday to walk her dog became involved in a harrowing ordeal in which she fought valiantly to try to save her dog from a mountain lion attack.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife late Tuesday issued a news release explaining that the attack on the woman and dog occurred along State Route 299 in Trinity County.
The unidentified woman had pulled over near a picnic area and had begun to walk on a path, with her Belgian Malinois just ahead of her, when the mountain lion, or cougar, swiped its paw across her left shoulder.
The woman screamed and the dog returned to confront the mountain lion, which bit the dog’s head and maintained a vice-like grip despite the woman hurling rocks at the cougar.
“The woman attempted to throw rocks, tug and pull them apart, and even attempted to gouge the eyes out of the lion, to no avail,” the CDFW stated in the news release.
The woman ran to the highway and flagged down a motorist, who sprayed the mountain lion with pepper spray. But that did not work.
When the mountain lion began to drag the dog from the trail, the woman and the passerby struck the cat with a PVC pipe, and the cat released its grip.
The dog was treated by a veterinarian and as of Tuesday night the extent of its injuries was unclear. The woman drove herself to a hospital in Redding, where she was treated for non-life-threatening bite wounds and scratches.
The CDFW stated that while “appropriate samples” were still being analyzed, interviews with the victim, passerby, veterinarian and physician appeared sufficient for officials to treat their investigation as a “legitimate attack.”
–Mountain lion image is generic