Mountain Lion Attacks Woman and Her Dog Along California Highway

by Chris Haney

On Monday, a simple stop to let her dog out turned into a nightmare scenario for one woman in California. The woman reportedly stopped alongside a highway in Trinity County to walk her dog when a mountain lion attacked both the owner and pet. The mountain lion took a swipe at the woman before attacking the dog as its owner attempted to fight it off.

On Tuesday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) released a statement on the mountain lion attack. The agency noted that the encounter occurred along State Route 299 in Northern California. The area is just north of Sacramento and not far from the Oregon border.

The CDFW’s report shared further details of the terrifying encounter with the cougar. The woman, who’s identity has not been released, stopped at a picnic area off the highway. She let her Belgian Malinois out and began to walk the dog on a nearby path. As the dog walked just ahead of her, the woman all of a sudden felt the mountain lion swipe its paw across her left shoulder. As the woman screamed out because of the mountain lion attack, the dog came back to defend its owner.

Belgian Malinois aren’t small dogs with males reaching around 80 pounds. However, adult mountain lions can reach more than 200 pounds and are the largest cats native to North America. According to the CDFW report, the cougar attacked the dog, biting down on its head and maintaining its lock. That’s when a fight for the dog’s life ensued.

Woman Fights Back Against Mountain Lion Attack to Save Her Dog

The unidentified woman had to feel helpless when the mountain lion had her dog in its jaws. Yet she did what she could and fought back against the mountain lion attack. The CDFW reported that she hurled rocks at the cougar in hopes of it releasing her dog. She even came in close contact with the predator as she tried to gouge its eyes.

“The woman attempted to throw rocks, tug and pull them apart,” the CDFW news release said. “And even attempted to gouge the eyes out of the lion, to no avail.”

When the woman’s attempts didn’t work, she ran back to the highway and flagged down a passerby. Another unnamed individual lended a helping hand and attempted to pepper spray the mountain lion. But the big cat still wouldn’t let go of her dog and began to drag the Belgian Malinois off the trail. However, the woman and good Samaritan fought back, this time using a PVC pipe to strike the mountain lion. After what had to feel like a lifetime, but probably only lasted a few minutes if that, the mountain lion finally released the dog.

The dog owner rushed her pet to a veterinarian after the incident. As of Tuesday night, the extent of its injuries is not clear. Subsequently, the woman drove herself to a hospital in Redding, California where doctors treated her for non-life-threatening bite wounds and scratches.

After conducting interviews with the victim, passerby, veterinarian, and doctors, officials are treating the mountain lion encounter as a “legitimate attack.”