Hunter bags lion that may have mauled dog

A Lake City hunter on Friday shot a young mountain lion believed to have mauled a family dog last week on the outskirts of the small town.

The licensed hunter, Jim Higgins, said he took aim Friday afternoon after stumbling across the lion as it fed on an elk’s carcass following a kill.

The lion was bagged roughly four miles north of the home of Schuyler Denham, whose dog, Jane Doe, was attacked the evening of Jan. 11, near the Denham’s front porch. Higgins said the lion, which he estimated to be 3 years old, was famished and in poor health. Porcupine quills inside the lion suggest it may have become desperate for food sources.

Denham said the shot lion had a distinctive marking on its tail similar to the animal that attacked Jane. It also was missing several claws, some of which were found in the Denham’s front yard after Jane’s scrape.

“This doesn’t come to the level of DNA or fingerprints, but it has us convinced (it’s the same lion),” Denham said.

Higgins said he had been asked by an area rancher to hunt the predators, which have repeatedly targeted area deer and elk herds in recent weeks.

According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, another lion was suspected of killing a man’s dog on Jan. 7, roughly 18 miles northeast of Lake City.

Jane, meanwhile, continues to recover from a skull fracture and numerous scrapes and cuts. Leery of being outside in the days after the attack, Jane’s now not happy about being cooped up, Denham said

“She’s annoyed because we have to give her eye drops and doesn’t like her antibiotics,” he said.


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