Mountain lion treed by border collie and chihuahua in Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Mountain lion treed by border collie and chihuahua in Craig

Janelle O'Dea

— Craig resident Riley Hoth and her friend Ericka Ramirez ran into a scaredy-cat at Loudy-Simpson Park on Thursday afternoon.

Hoth's two dogs, Pepper, a border collie, and Tebow, a Chihuahua, ran into a pile of brush. Hoth and Ramirez heard big branches snapping moments later, and Hoth said she heard whining.

"I looked over my shoulder, and that cat was like stretched out, and then he was climbing the tree and I told (Ramirez), 'oh my god it's a cat,'" Hoth said.

Hoth said when she looked over her shoulder the mountain lion looked similar to the Puma athletic wear logo as he leaped from the pile of brush. After the lion was treed, she called off her dogs, but Tebow stayed fierce with the lion.

"My little Chihuahua thinks he's so tough and mighty so I had to go near the tree to get him, and I took my big dog with me," Hoth said. She told Ramirez to stay back on the trail while she retrieved Tebow in case the lion made any sudden movements or jumped down from the tree.

Ramirez said she isn't sure exactly how far they were from the lion, but they were too close for comfort.

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"It was just staring down there us," Ramirez said. "It wasn't too far, and I'm pretty sure if it jumped down, it would have been really close to us."

Hoth called her dad, and he advised the two to call 911. Hoth and Ramirez thought about leaving, but realized they didn't want to leave the danger for someone else to run into. After calling 911, Hoth said officials showed up about a half an hour later.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife responded to the call. Spokesman Mike Porras said the officials determined the lion was about two years old and posed enough of a danger to put it down.

Porras said because Craig has a sizeable deer population and a river running through it, mountain lions are actually not that uncommon, even in a fairly populated place such as Loudy-Simpson Park.

"A river runs by Loudy, and animals will use these areas to travel up and down (the river)," Porras said. "It's more than likely there are more lions in that area than people realize."

Although Hoth's dogs treed the lion and got it away from Hoth and Ramirez, Porras still advises folks not to let their dogs off-leash.

"If you let your dogs off-leash and they chase wildlife, like a deer, they can cause injuries or an extreme amount of stress," Porras said. "They could become a meal for a coyote."

On Monday, the lion will be donated to Moffat County High School as a learning tool for biology classes.

Hoth, a lifetime Craig resident, said she has seen a handful of mountain lions before but was riding in horses in Maybell in those instances. And usually, Hoth said, the mountain lions she's spotted in Maybell are much more skittish.

"That was pretty close for me to be on foot you know," Hoth said. "I was a little shook up."

Ramirez has only lived in Craig for about three months.

"She's new, and she's from Arizona, so you know it probably scared her away from Loudy for a while," Hoth said.

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @jayohday.

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