Cougar shot after killing Utah family's dog

This should so much not be news!

Park City, Utah (up in the mountains). Cougar shot after killing Utah family’s dog. AP.

This event is so common. People build in cougar habitat and stock their yards with tasty morsels.

There is a similar story in the Bitterroot Valley (actually foothills) of Montana. It seems a cougar killed a pooch on a porch in a Bear Creek dispersed subdivision that is (I looked on Google Earth) hard up against the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, which with the Frank Church Wilderness, is the largest (save one dirt road) Wilderness area in the lower 48 states. That story full of twists and turns and neighborly conflict.





  1. jdubya Avatar

    Peoa isn’t exactly in Park City: more rural. But anyone up there should know there are lots of critters wandering through their back yards that think a Yorkie would taste good. Too bad the cat had to pay extra for that meal.

  2. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Americans seem to increasingly be kinda nuts about their dogs. I don’t have one but there are plenty of dogs I have affection for. . but I wonder if when people loss touch with the natural world and lose touch with their relationships with each other if a dog is an answer they choose because a dog gives unconditional love back . . or what appears to be unconditional love. Then the dog becomes a focus . . if you choose to live in a private setting near a wilderness and you have a “buddy baby” pet, then you need to watch it as close as you would a human child. I know people go through a lot of pain when they lose a pet, but unfortunately it is a symptom of not being aware of, connected with or cognizant of life in the natural world. Here in Baja it is interesting that because life is hard for the local people and food is an issue, as well as maintaining shelter in the face of yearly storms you never see a dog riding in one of their vehicles. Dogs here have a job, and if they don’t do the job . . . well then they are on their own. Not that I condone some of the cruelty to domestic animals that happens everywhere, but I love the idea of wild animals being able to make their living however they need to do it . . and if that means pets sometimes . . well that is part of our price of being in a more than rural area.

  3. Mgulo Avatar

    It’s not always folks building out into the woods, then complaining when nature comes to call.

    I lost a cat to a cougar about a year ago in a Pacific NW neighborhood established in 1905 and surrounded by literally miles of urban human habitat. There are currently nine cougars living within the greater city limits to my certain knowledge and some of them have been there unmolested for years. The area is pierced by undevelopable gullies filled with deer, possums and other tasty treats and the cats just keep a low profile and tend their own business. I have a six-foot CL fence but the cat went outside the fence at 2pm one sunny afternoon when the cougar was nearby. Bad luck for him!

    I don’t blame the cougar or the cat – that’s just the way life is. Now if the neighbor, who let’s his kids play on the same wooded hillside, might have a different view….

    On the other hand, if we shot everybody for following their inclinations to the detriment of others, there’d be more open space. Hmmmm……

  4. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse

    Yorkshire terrier, huh. Tasty morsal indeed. If I recall correctly they are about the size of a soccer ball. First, you have wonder what a dog like that is doing outside, unsupervised, in the first place. Bad for the dog, sad for the family, and bad for the cat. Two unnecessary animal deaths because of humans with poor judgment.

    I would even agree with Chicago Mike that this cat could maybe wait for the animal control folks, whoever they are in rural Utah north of Park City.

  5. jon Avatar

    Linda, dogs are better than most people. In my opinion anyways. All of these people who lost their pets to wild animals need to stop blaming the wild animals for just trying to survive. People who own pets should be more responsible pet owners and have their eyes on their pets all the time because you never know what might happen. I think it is rather ignorant myself to blame the wild animal just because you are not a responsible pet owner who is not willing to watch over your pet. Not saying you, just in general.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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