CDFW News | CDFW investigating possible mountain lion attack in Trinity County
CDFW investigating possible mountain lion attack in Trinity County
Wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) responded to a report of a mountain lion attack in Trinity County on May 16, 2022. The incident occurred around 3:00 p.m. along the State Route 299 near Big Bar.
A woman was driving on State Route 299 when she pulled over to the side of the road near a picnic area and got out of the vehicle with her dog. She started walking down a path with the dog slightly ahead of her. She noticed movement next to her as a mountain lion swung her onto her left shoulder, causing her injuries. She screamed and her dog, a Belgian Malinois, immediately came back and attacked the puma. The mountain lion bit the dog’s head and wouldn’t let go. The woman attempted to throw stones, pull them and separate them, and even tried to gouge out the lion’s eyes, to no avail.
The woman got back on the road and signaled a passing vehicle. A passerby stopped, retrieved a canister of pepper spray, and sprayed the lion in the face with little or no effect. The cougar was trying to get off the trail and drag the dog to another location. The woman and bystander eventually retrieved a piece of PVC pipe and began beating the mountain lion with it until he finally freed the dog.
The woman took her dog straight to a vet for emergency treatment. The dog’s condition is being monitored and it is unknown if he will survive. The woman then drove to Redding for treatment. His injuries consist of bites, scratches, bruises and abrasions, but are not life threatening.
Wildlife officers interviewed the victim, bystander, veterinarian and emergency physician, and worked with each of them to collect appropriate samples for analysis. The samples have been delivered to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento and are being processed. Although DNA analysis from samples taken during the investigation is the most reliable way to conclusively prove that an attack took place, the initial evidence from the investigation is strong enough to allow wildlife officers to treat the investigation as a legitimate attack.
Those in the area should be aware that the CDFW Law Enforcement Division is working with allied agency partners to trap the offending puma and will further assess the situation if caught. As a reminder, people should always be vigilant when recreating in mountain lion habitat.
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 508-7095