Mountain lion killed after mauling dogs in Salida home
"Board up those doggy doors in Mountain Lion Country !"
Wildlife officials killed a mountain lion yesterday that invaded a home near Salida, attacking five dogs and trapping a mother and two children.The mountain lion entered the home nine miles northwest of Salida about 4 p.m. Thursday after it chased a small dog through a pet door.
Michelle Bese, 27, and her two children, ages two and five, were inside with four of her five dogs.
Bese said in an interview that her Jack Russell terrier had been outside when it spotted the mountain lion and began barking at it.
The mountain lion jumped a 9-foot fence and chased the six-year-old Jack Russell terrier, named Shai, through the pet door.Bese was sitting at the kitchen table with her five-year-old son Logan, who was coloring.
"At first I thought it was a stray dog, then maybe a coyote because it was not very big," said Bese.However, she realized it was "a cat" when the dog turned and confronted the mountain lion.
Bese took Logan and ran to the back bedroom where Avery, her two-year-old, was sleeping.She said Logan couldn't figure why she was dragging him through the house."He didn't see the lion. He thought I was pretty mad at him," she said.
She shut the bedroom door but then realized the phone was in the living room with the cat.Her husband, Devin, was driving home with their 9-year-old daughter, Mary, and Bese wanted to warn him.
She dashed out of the bedroom, got the phone, ran back and called her husband and then 911.When her husband arrived, he helped her and the two children out a bedroom window.
Minutes later, deputies from the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office arrived with Colorado Division of Wildlife officials.The mountain lion stayed inside, where it had killed one of the dogs, even as a DOW officer pounded on the walls and windows.
At that point officers went in and the cat was tranquilized, the DOW said in a news release.
Bese said that one of the shih tzu died and two others lost an eye from being mauled.She said the Jack Russell survived, even though the mountain lion had it by the throat at one point.
Bese said her priority was her children.
"I just wanted to take care of my kids," she said. "I felt bad I couldn't get the dogs into the room."She was afraid if she opened the door for the dogs, the lion would rush in and attack her children.
The DOW said the 18-month-old male mountain lion was significantly undernourished at 40 pounds. Most cats its age weigh about 60 pounds.
After evaluating the lion's condition, wildlife officials decided to euthanize it.
The home is in a heavily wooded area perfect for mountain lions, said Mike Seraphin, a DOW spokesman. Seraphin said that a mountain lion can easily leap fences over 6 feet tall.The lion's remains will be sent to a DOW lab in Fort Collins for analysis in hopes determining what caused the cat's unusual behavior.
Jim Aragon, a DOW wildlife manager who was on the scene, said it is highly unusual for a mountain lion to enter a building.