Mauled Lake City dog an inside pet, for now

Jane Doe’s no longer anonymous in Lake City.

And she isn’t too proud about it.

Veterinarians who treated the 4-year-old, collie-husky-golden retriever mix after it was mauled by a mountain lion on Monday ended up having to shave a wide swath of fur off the dog’s head to treat a skull fracture.

“She’s a little embarrassed about how she looks, but she’s doing better,” Jane’s owner, Schuyler Denham, said in an interview Wednesday.

Denham said he was in the basement of his home, on the outskirts of the small town in Hinsdale County and near the Gunnison National Forest, when he heard his dog yelping from near the front porch around 6:15 p.m. Monday.

He ran to check on the commotion.

“I thought she might be choking on something,” Denham said. “Then I got about 5 feet from her, and the cat had its jaws on her face.”

The mountain lion, which Denham believes was a yearling, hissed and raised a paw before running away after Denham yelled at the animal. Jane had been hooked up to the front porch on a thin wire, leaving about 20 feet for the dog to roam.

The wire was snapped.

“It looked like the cat was trying to drag her away,” he said. “Jane’s just 60 pounds ... it took a lot of force.”

Denham rushed the dog to an animal hospital in Gunnison, where doctors determined Jane suffered a skull fracture and a broken nose as well as numerous scratch and bite marks.

“She didn’t want to go outside afterward,” Denham said.

Denham said it’s the first serious mountain lion encounter with a pet that he can remember since the family moved to the area in 2005 from Baltimore. Jane cheated death as a puppy when an owl swooped from the sky and tried to grab the dog as it ran near the home.

Since then, Jane had been kept outside on a chain so that she wouldn’t be taken or dragged away, he said.

J. Wenum, area manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Gunnison office, said the attack was the second involving a mountain lion and family dog over a four-day period. Roughly 18 miles northeast of Lake City, a man’s dog was killed by a mountain lion Jan. 7 after the dog was left outdoors unobserved by its owner.

“We don’t believe it’s the same cat, but it’s difficult to say 100 percent,” Wenum said.


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