May 6, 2009

"Smack dab in the middle of lion country"

"Receptionist Emily Ransom, right, points to the injuries Hogie received after being attacked by a mountain lion [...] Hogie protected his owner, William Morse, while walking at Falcon Campground in Santa Ana Mountains, Calif. Tuesday. He was taken to Clinton Keith Veterinary Hospital in Wildomar, Calif. and received about 40 stitches." [Photo by Cheryl A. Guerrero for the Orange County Register.]

Hero to zero for Hogie, the lab mix injured by a mountain lion mere miles from my cousin's home in Orange County. OMG!

Original reports described a courageous dog defending his owners against an attacking lion, yay Hogie! Updates describe an [illegally] off-leash dog harassing wildlife in the Cleveland National Forest. Ruh roh. Bad owner - bad! From the O.C. Register:
State Fish and Game authorities called off the hunt for a mountain lion Tuesday night after a Wildomar man whose dog was injured by the lion revealed that the cat likely acted in self-defense.

“It doesn’t look like the lion was interested in the dog as a meal,” said Fish and Game Lt. Dan Sforza. “It was just defending itself. We have a policy to determine if this is a public safety threat and I am not classifying it as that.”

The incident happened around noon Tuesday. William and Candy Morse had been camping at El Cariso Campground. They went for a hike on a trail at Falcon Campground, next to Blue Jay Campground north of Ortega Highway. The campground was closed, but the couple hopped the chain. They were walking near the restroom area with their 5-year-old Queensland Heeler/Labrador mix Hoggie.

Morse, 41, was ahead of his wife when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a mountain lion crouching near the restroom, about 40 feet ahead.

Hoggie jumped between Morse and the mountain lion, which Morse estimated at double the dog’s size.

According to Sforza’s interpretation of Morse’s account, both animals seem to have spotted each other at the same time. The lion started to run off and Hoggie ran after it. Then, Sforza said, it appears the lion turned back and attacked the dog, grabbing him by his underbelly and ripping him open.
And from the Press Enterprise:
Biologist Kevin Brennan of the California Department Fish and Game, said Fish and Game officials are not searching today for the mountain lion, which was estimated to weigh about 100 pounds, because they do not consider the confrontation "a public safety situation."

"The dog had attacked the mountain lion," Brennan said today.

Brennan, though, added that "when mountain lions are a public safety threat, we have no choice but to destroy the offending animal."
Lucky Hogie is expected to recover from his injuries.

See also -
Mountain lion posts: let me show you them.

In related news, we have bears. [Image from FFFFOUND!]

1 comment:

HTTrainer said...

Let me get this straight, the dog went after the mountain lion because the dog was protecting its owners. What would have happened had they leashed the dog, left the campground and were stalked by the mountain lion?
Oh wait, I know, they were in a closed off campground. Sorry folks.