Mountain lion attacks pup in Surprise Valley area, neighbors say

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Some neighbors in a Boise Foothills subdivision believe a mountain lion attacked a dog in the Surprise Valley area Wednesday morning.

Neighbors tell KBOI 2News the animal, believed to have been a cougar, went into some Surprise Valley backyards on Horseshoe Place just after 6 a.m. and attacked a little Maltese named Larry.

"The child said when he went to see why the dog was alarmed, he saw a large animal with a long tail jumping, carrying the dog in its mouth. The boy reported yelling at the animal, at which point he says it dropped the dog," Idaho Fish and Game said in a news release.

The dog owner told an Idaho Fish and Game officer the dog went to an emergency veterinarian clinic with a small puncture wound in the shoulder and its left eye was bulging from its socket. The veterinarian later told the officer the eye injury did not appear to be caused by the tooth of another animal.

But neighbors say the animal made another stop before he attacked Larry. Marie Biaggne says she went to let her two dogs, Gizmo and Thor, outside just after 6:00 a.m., when she saw a visitor in her backyard.

"I open the slider to see something in my backyard," she said. "The little dog (Thor) let out a bark that I have never heard him use before, ever."

Neighbors pride the area for being quiet and peaceful.

"There is a lot of open space," neighbor Anna McHargue said. "We have the bluffs here, we have a lot of open areas here where the kids can play."

Biaggne said she moved to Surprise Valley so she could live in nature's backyard.

"We're nature people, we love this back area here," she said. "The wildlife that we get to see on a daily basis is incredible."

But this morning, nature came into her backyard. Biaggne said she thought it was a mountain lion. Thankfully, her two dogs were able to scare the animal off.

"They chased it...and it went over the fence," she said. "They were aggressive and I think that's why it didn't stop, it just kept going."

Within 30 minutes, neighbors say an animal attacked a little Maltese just a few houses down.

"I was just lucky my dogs were okay," Biaggne said. "It could have been a different story."

Biaggne said she loves the serenity of their neighborhood, and knows that mountain lions have the potential to be a neighbor. However, she said she'll keep a closer eye on Gizmo and Thor when they go outside for the next couple of weeks, especially at night and early in the morning.

"They're not going to be able to come out without me coming out with them," Biaggne said. "But I can tell by their barks if there's something in the backyard."

McHargue said she wouldn't let mountain lion attacks run her out of her neighborhood, but says she still wants to keep her kids safe.

"I'm not one to be frightened by that," she said. "Things like that don't scare me easily but now that I've heard of like three or four attacks, if I don't take it serious I'm becoming a little more negligent."

Idaho Fish and Game says it's looking into the report, but confirms this was the same street where a mountain lion killed a dog last summer.