A woman was attacked by a mountain lion at a roadside picnic area in Northern California, and her dog was badly injured in fighting the animal, state wildlife officials said.
The attack happened around 2:45 p.m. Monday at the Whites Bar picnic area, on Highway 299 in the Siskiyou Mountains, said a report from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The woman had pulled off the road and was walking with her dog near the Trinity River when the lion approached from the side and swiped her on her shoulder.
“She screamed, and her dog, a Belgian Malinois, immediately returned and engaged the mountain lion. The mountain lion bit the dog’s head and would not let go,” the agency’s report said.
When the woman was unable to pull the lion off her dog, she ran to the road and flagged down another driver. The two, armed with pepper spray and a length of plastic pipe, were able to make the lion release the dog.
The owner took her pet straight to a veterinarian. The 2½-year-old dog, Eva, suffered life-threatening injuries including skull fractures and was in “guarded” condition on Tuesday, the agency said.
The woman, identified as Erin Wilson, was treated in Redding for bites, scrapes and bruises.
The CDFW laboratory was still processing samples from the victims Tuesday. Agency investigators, believing the incident to be a “legitimate attack,” were leading a search for the lion and “will further evaluate the situation if it is caught.”
The passer-by who helped drive off the lion told the North Coast news blog Redheaded Blackbelt that the animal was emaciated and had cloudy eyes.
Wilson has started a GoFundMe to raise money for the medical treatment of her dog, whom she calls the “hero” who saved her life.
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