Dick and Nancy Kelley have seen a few cougars since they moved into their Colorado home in the mountainous area just west of Denver, but they were generally short and harmless visits. At least until earlier this week, when one of their dogs was attacked on the property.
According to CBS4, the couple owned two three-legged dogs named Trip and Tilly. The dogs would often go outside in the backyard to enjoy the mountain air. A fence had been set up around the house to keep mountain lions and other dangerous wildlife out.
Nancy was inside when she heard a loud noise followed by growling. She immediately knew what it was and went to look for a revolver that the Kelleys had stored away for such an occasion.
“I knew we have a gun. Where is it? I’ve never shot a gun before. Do I just point and shoot?” Nancy said. “It’s like the movies where I kind of came around the corner with my head, but not my body. […] Honestly I really wasn’t afraid as I was angry. I took aim, if you want to call it that, and shot, and was just calling frantically for her.”
Outside, a mountain lion was viciously mauling Tilly. With only three legs, the dog had no chance of fighting the wild animal off. Thankfully, Nancy had acted quickly enough the save the dog. The gunshot sent the mountain lion fleeing from the property and Nancy was able to get a good look at her pet, who was entangled in the fence.
Tilly suffered over 30 puncture wounds during the course of the attack and was missing patches of fur, but it could’ve been a lot worse. The dog was later transported to a local animal hospital, where she was one of several other pets being treated for mountain lion related injuries.
Tilly has since then recovered but the Kelleys remain vigiliant against future attacks.
“The takeaway would be, if you live in the mountains, be aware,” says Nancy.
The Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife urges pet owners, hikers, and hunters to take extra precaution around mountain lions. Hikers should go out in groups and carry a walking stick whenever possible. Cougars are curious and will give chase to anything that interests them. Experts advise that in a confrontation, do not run. Instead, try to appear as large as possible and back away slowly.
The Colorado hunting season for mountain lions will run from April 1-30 this year.