In two separate incidents, one in Dunsmuir and one on May 16 in McCloud, a mountain lion attacked a dog that was being walked on a leash.
In both cases, a woman was walking her dog alone on a leash when a mountain lion stealthily emerged from the brush grabbing the dog near the neck. In both cases, the dogs survived the attack. And, in both cases, the women yelled and waved their arms to discourage the cat, which then left.
Sherry Karns from McCloud was walking her husky mix named Kiya at what is known as the Beaver Ponds at Soda Springs just off of Squaw Valley Road at 10:30 a.m. on May 16. “I am heel training Kiya,” she said. “I felt a tug and looked down to see this huge animal over my dog. It covered her totally for two to three seconds, grabbing hold of her at the neck and shoulders. I yelled in my deepest, meanest, most authoritative voice I could conjure, and the cat slowly turned way. It was completely silent. I did what had to be done at the time. We didn’t run, didn’t panic, just walked out of there. The lord was with me. It was like dream.”
Karns, who lives not far from where the attack occurred, showed the still healing puncture wound over her dog’s shoulder.
On June 4, Karns and her neighbors saw the mountain lion again but this time near her house. She said, “I was sitting with my dog when we heard a sound in the brush where deer usually walk through. Kiya was looking too and stiffened when out walked the mountain lion. The three guys paving the street saw it too and said it looked like a juvenile weighing around 125 pounds.”
Rico Tinsman, who lives in Dunsmuir, caught a mountain lion on his trail camera crossing his front porch at night. “We expect this living in Dunsmuir,” he said. “People’s house cats are disappearing in north Dunsmuir.”
Tinsman says that attacks occur if a mountain lion is rabid or dumb and young or very old and pushed into new territory and isn’t fit for taking out deer anymore.
California Fish & Wildlife Biologist Bob Schafer suggests keeping pets indoors. “Small dogs and house cats are particularly vulnerable,” he said. “The first bite typically is a kill bite. That dog in Dunsmuir was lucky. The vet bill was $700.”
Schafer said they cannot run hounds in town to catch the predator and mountain lions are hard to trap. “Dunsmuir in particular has problems being on the Sacramento River,” he said. “It is a wildlife corridor. They have lots of bear problems also.”
Schafer advises people to walk in groups. He said, “Chances are remote for mountain lions to bother humans. If you see a mountain lion, get a big stick, wave it around and make a lot of noise.”
The first recorded mountain lion attack in California was June 19, 1890 in Quartz Valley, Siskiyou County.
Fish & Wildlife Game Warden Chad Edwards says to call State Parks dispatch or to report any wildlife incidents online at wildlife.ca.gov (click the “Problems” With Wildlife? link in the column on the right).