GARDEN CITY -- Idaho Fish and Game confirms that a mountain lion attacked a family dog last Thursday.
It happened at a home in the Meadow Creek neighborhood, which is near the Greenbelt.
Officials believe this same animal has been spotted a few times before, starting in early October.
Amanda Larrinaga came home from work that evening just after 7 p.m. to find the family’s 9-year-old chow-mix, Riley, bloody and wounded.
“We didn't know what had happened, we thought maybe she got out or something got into the backyard,” said Larrinaga.
Riley, along with the two other family dogs, were let outside earlier that night and could have spooked the mountain lion hiding in the backyard. The attack left the dog pretty badly injured.
“When she moved, you will see here like this part of the ear wasn’t attached,” said Larrinaga describing the dog’s injuries. “A lot of scratches, a pretty large laceration on the back of her neck, some cuts along her ear line.”
Larrinaga said their home is near nature, and often times they see wildlife around the neighborhood and even in their backyard, but not a mountain lion.
After the attack, neighborhood watch coordinator Jerry Nielson took action to alert the rest of the neighborhood by sending out an email.
“Letting them know that a dog had been mauled in the neighborhood and that they should be aware of that,” he said.
“I think by and large this is just a sleepy neighborhood,” said Nielson.
He believes the residents living in the neighborhood are surprised, and now on alert.
Residents reported several mountain lion sightings in the last few weeks. In this latest incident, Fish and Game says the big cat scaled a six-foot tall fence to enter the backyard.
“It’s possible that this cat decided it was looking for something to eat, and that is a step that we see in this kind of behavior where the lion comes into town, it's seen frequently pretty soon when it sets up shop they tend to like to prey on domestic pets,” said Evin Oneale with Idaho Fish and Game.
Larrinaga said Riley is going to be fine; she will just need some recovery time.
However, the family is now keeping the dogs inside more often and telling their neighbors about the incident.
“We walked around and let all of our neighbors know, some of them have little kids, just to be aware,” said Larrinaga.
Fish and Game said they will wait for another reported sighting of the animal to determine its location and then send in dogs to sniff the mountain lion out. When they find the cat, it will be put down.
Residents should remain alert when going outside, and officials say it’s best to keep pets inside as much as possible.