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Senior Dog Attacked by Mountain Lion in Backyard


A small dog was attacked by a mountain lion in his backyard last week in Rancho Bernardo, California. The 13-year-old Terrier is lucky to be alive.

Mountain lion attacks dog

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, a senior dog named Bucky let himself out through a doggy door in his Palacio Place home in the Westwood neighborhood around 11:30 p.m. on June 19. Bucky’s dog mom, Liz Gutschow, was about to follow her canine companion into the backyard.

“I heard something outside the window that sounded like a cat,” she told the news outlet. “I know there are coyotes around and thought one had gotten a cat.”

Through the patio door, she saw a “huge” mountain lion. The wild cat was hunched over in the backyard.

“I panicked and thought ‘Where’s Bucky?’ and ‘No, no, no’ I was yelling,” she recalled. “I was just hysterical.”

Bucky is only 13 pounds. He is also deaf, blind, and toothless. Gutschow had every reason to fear for the dog’s safety. She also feared for her own well-being, so she stayed indoors. But the mountain lion heard her screams. It looked at her, hissed, then took off. It leaped over the low fence surrounding the yard.

Dog suffers severe injuries after attack

After the attack, poor Bucky staggered back to his house.

“Somehow he escaped,” Gutschow said.

But he did not do so unharmed. There were bleeding wounds on both sides of the pup’s throat. Gutschow and her adult daughter, Nicki, applied pressure to the dog’s neck to slow the bleeding. They rushed Bucky to the VCA animal hospital in Carlsbad.

It took several hours for veterinary staff to close Bucky’s wounds.

“They were just fantastic,” Gutschow said of the dog’s care team.

Bucky was able to return home and began the slow process of recovery. Initially, he was able to drink water but struggled with eating. Gutschow and her daughter had to hand-feed Bucky soft foods.

“As long as he is not suffering, I’m OK with (hand feeding),” Gutschow said. “He is not needing as much pain medicines now…I thought immediately when it happened we’d have to put him down.”

Within a few days, Bucky was able to walk around his home, and regained the ability to eat on his own.

Mountain lions increasingly pose a safety threat to dogs

The California Department of Fish and Game has seen an uptick in mountain lion sightings in San Diego County over the past eight weeks.

According to Tim Daly, the Department’s public information officer, “the mountain lion habitat is 50 percent of the state of California. It is not uncommon and not unusual for a mountain lion to be in that area. They roam at night, looking for a way to survive, for food and water.”

He further warned that mountain lions “do not stand out. They are an animal that will ambush. It is a predator that will hide until its target is in sight.”

The wild cats are very stealthy, moving from one spot to another before pouncing.

So what should you do if you see a mountain lion eyeing your dog? Make as much noise as you can. If you are near the mountain lion, back away slowly. Never run towards a wild cat.

If you live in an area known to attract mountain lions, restrict outside access to food and garbage. Also, consider installing motion sensor lights in your yard. While fencing your yard is a good way to keep your dog contained, unfortunately, it won’t prevent a mountain lion from jumping over it. So, keep an eye on your dog when they are outside.

Now that you know all about the threat of mountain lions, read up on other wild animals that will attack your dog.


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