MISSOULA – Two mountain lions were euthanized after a dog was attacked and killed in the Upper Rattlesnake area on Saturday.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks responded and were able to follow the big cats’ trail.
Police initially responded the incident, which occurred towards the end of Duncan Drive on the outskirts of town.
FWP Region 2 Information and Education Program Manager Vivaca Crowser says FWP was called in for assistance and brought hounds to track the trail of the mountain lions.
“There was one lion that was still in the immediate vicinity and then another one not that much further,” Crowser said. “Being able to get on a fresh trail is really important to be able to respond efficiently and being able to complete the story as to what happened.
Crowser added that it is common this time of year to see mountain lions on the outer areas of town as they are hunting and will come down to the valley bottoms where there is less snow.
In this incident, FWP says that their choice to euthanize the big cats was safest for all involved.
“In a case like this when we had a dog fatally-injured in an area when there is other houses, there’s other pets,” Crowser said. “It’s a case we’re typically…it’s the type of response we look at if we can get the lion/lions in and kill them, it’s usually the best case in these situations because, unfortunately, we have a lion in an area where it’s a human safety situation.”
Crowser added that it is not very common for mountain lions to attack house pets. The big cats’ natural prey is usually deer.
Crowser says pet owners should take a little extra precaution when letting their pets outside, but also understands incidents like this will happen when we are surrounded by nature.