Mountain Lions Kill 15 Dogs In 30 Days in Colorado Town

Mountain lions cut a bloody swath through the dog population around a town in rural Boulder County, Colorado, killing as many as 15 dogs in 30 days.

Mark Heinz

January 06, 20233 min read

Mountain Lion and dog 1 6 23

Mountain lions chewed and clawed a bloody swath through the pet population of a small Colorado community last year, killing as many as 15 dogs in about a month. 

It’s not a scenario likely to be repeated in Wyoming, where mountain lions attacking dogs are rare, but not unheard of. A Cody couple in 2017 shot a mountain lion to death after it tried to get their dog. 

Residents around Nederland, a small community in rural Boulder County, Colorado, claim to have lost 23 dogs to mountain lions last year. 

They report the situation reached a horrific climax toward the end of the year, when the big cats are suspected of slaying 15 dogs in 30 days.

In response, residents struck back, killing a mountain lion, Colorado Parks and Wildlife reports.

Three Dogs Killed At Once

November saw a steep uptick in reports of mountain lions going after dogs, Parks and Wildlife spokesman Joey Livingston told Cowboy State Daily.

“Since Nov. 1, CPW has received 10 reports in the Nederland/Rollinsville/Blackhawk area of mountain lions killing or attacking 12 dogs in total, with one incident involving three dogs,” he said. “On Dec. 27, a mountain lion was killed by a resident after it attacked their dogs.” 

Similar action was taken by Cody residents Mike and Kim Darby in 2017, when a mountain lion tried to kill their dog, according to news reports from the time. Mike Darby said he grabbed the female mountain lion by the tail to get it off the dog, while his wife retrieved a firearm and then shot it dead. 

Wyoming Game and Fish Department didn’t respond to Cowboy State Daily by the time this story was posted about whether mountain lion attacks on dogs in Wyoming have been on the rise.

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Don’t Let Lions Develop A Taste For Fido

Growing housing developments in Colorado might be increasing the number of attacks there, Livingston said. 

“When human development expands into mountain lion habitat, the chances of encountering a mountain lion increases, and people must become more vigilant,” he said. “People living in areas with mountain lions must take precautions to avoid encounters between lions and their pets.”

Letting pets run free in remote subdivisions isn’t a good idea, he said. People also shouldn’t leave pet food or garbage sitting around because that can attract predators. 

And once they develop a taste for dogs, mountain lions aren’t likely to stop, Livingston said. 

“Deer are wild animals that have thousands of years of behavioral adaptations to help them avoid predation and can be tougher to hunt than domesticated pets,” he said. “Once a lion learns that pets can provide a relatively easy meal, they are more likely to continue pursuing that food source.”

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter