Two separate mountain lion attacks Monday reportedly left a 2-year-old colt seriously injured and a pair of pet rabbits dead.
The first attack, of a palomino paint gelding, occurred at about 4 a.m. in the 12000 block of La Barr Meadows Road.
“I’m devastated,” said the horse’s owner, Christine Beatty. “I was just breaking him to ride.”
Beatty said she heard what she described as a loud cat cry, followed by her dogs “going nuts.”
“They were raising Cain,” said her husband, David.
Initially, the Beattys said, they couldn’t tell what happened because it was still dark — but they soon discovered the colt and its mother covered in blood.
The colt was “slashed,” Christine said, adding that the lacerations could not have been caused by the one strand of barbed wire in the fence.
“The claw marks were from a mountain lion, for sure,” said David, adding that the vet concurred after treating the injured colt — to the tune of 180 stitches.
The mare injured her back shins kicking the mountain lion, the Beattys believe.
“The mama horse fought for her baby,” Christine said; her husband noted that there was a blood trail leading away from their enclosure.
“The mare got him pretty good,” He said. “She might have killed it. I don’t know.”
David said he spent Monday night in the pasture, in case the mountain lion came back.
The couple is hoping to acquire a depredation permit.
“I never, never would have suspected a cat would go after a horse,” Christine said of the colt she was planning to show. “I’m just happy he’s alive.”
A mountain lion is also the suspect in the death of two rabbits on Banner Quaker Hill Road Monday afternoon.
Ted Johnson, who lives in the 14000 block, said he was gone from his residence for a four-hour period and returned at about 2 p.m. to find the rabbits — which had been in a dog kennel protected by a 6-foot cyclone fence — gone.
“There was no sign of them,” he said.
Johnson said his wife eventually found one of the rabbits, half-buried and with its head partially eaten, about 30 feet away.
Tuesday morning, at about 3 a.m., Johnson said he was awakened by what sounded like a baby crying in the area — and when he turned the lights on, something “took off,” setting off the motion detectors in his yard.
Johnson said when he went out to investigate at about 8 a.m. Tuesday, he found the second rabbit back in the cage, dead, and then saw what was either a mountain lion or a very large bobcat fleeing.
“It went over a 5-foot fence like it was nothing,” he said.
The Mountain Lion Foundation notes that lions roam large territories, and a lion seen in the area after 10 days may not be the same one that caused the damage.
“Many biologists believe younger, dispersing lions are more likely to cause depredation, and these cats will often travel hundreds of miles to find a home range,” according to the foundation’s website.
“A juvenile dispersing lion may only stay in one area for a few days.”
The foundation recommends protecting vulnerable animals, keeping animals in fully enclosed structures or using guard animals; the website notes a mountain lion can jump 15 feet vertically.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.