Colorado Man Fights Mountain Lion to Save Pet Dog

by Matthew Wilson

The things a pet owner will do for their dog. A Colorado man sprang into action to save his best friend when a mountain lion attacked. While he may not have the action movie skills of John Wick, the pet owner was more than adequate at fending off the predator.

Gene Whannel, who lives in Estes Park, said he had to fight off the creature after it attacked his dog, Sadie. For the most part, Whannel has lived at his Colorado property without incident. His backyard shares the border with public land, and he’s used to interacting with wildlife. But a mountain lion encounter last week almost proved deadly.

Whannel usually checks his property for would-be predators. But one-day last week, he took his dog for a walk at night. He shone his flashlight into the hill by his house, looking for mountain lions. When he didn’t see any signs of one, he allowed the dog off her leash. Shortly after, he heard Sadie whine in pain.

“I got the light on her, saw that she was in a wrestling match with something,” he told FOX31. “From a distance, I couldn’t tell what it was, but my suspicion was a mountain lion.”

The Colorado Man Fights the Mountain Lion

Whannel quickly scanned his yard for either a rock or stick, any weapon he could use at the moment. The Colorado man found a property marker and pulled it up from the ground. Wielding it like a makeshift baseball bat, he charged the animal to defend his dog.

“I picked that up, hit the mountain lion once, and it kind of made eye contact with me,” Whannel said. “I took another whack at it and hit it in the face. Then the mountain lion released Sadie and ran the other way.”

Unfortunately, the mountain lion attack cost Sadie an eye. Whannel’s pet underwent three hours of surgery and more than 70 stitches. She’s expected to make a recovery though. In many ways, Sadie is lucky. Another dog in town wasn’t so fortunate when a mountain lion killed it a few days later. Local authorities are warning pet owners not to take their pets walking at night. They also urge owners not to leave their pets unattended either.

“Although mountain lion attacks on dogs in Estes Park do not occur often, Estes Park is mountain lion country and these incidents can happen,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Jason Clay said

As for Sadie, Whannel is glad that she is okay.

“Considering what she went through, she’s doing fantastic,” Whannel told FOX31. “I’ll never let Sadie out in the yard without a leash.”