Family Dog Saves Kids From Mountain Lion Before Being Fatally Injured

A pet dog has been hailed as a "hero" for defending the children in her family after a six-foot-long mountain lion stalked the youngsters at a home in Colorado.

Unfortunately, the dog—a pit bull/chihuahua mix named "Lady"—was attacked by the big cat as she attempted to protect the kids and later had to be put down due to the severity of her injuries, CBS4 reported.

The incident occurred on June 14 at the home of the Havens family near Idaho Springs, a mountain community located west of Denver.

In the afternoon, the four children were playing in the front yard when Lady became agitated and started making noises.

"I was inside making dinner, my husband was outside here in the driveway washing his car," the mother, Virginia Havens, told CBS4. "[My husband] heard Lady going crazy, just that quick."

The dog had actually spotted a mountain lion, estimated to measure around six feet length, which had been stalking the children as they were playing.

Mountain lions (Puma concolor) are a large cat species native to the Americas, with a range stretching from Canada's Yukon Territory to the Strait of Magellan in the south.

Staying Alert

Human encounters with mountain lions are rare, and the chances of being attacked are extremely small, but authorities recommend that people stay alert in mountain lion country.

Despite her much smaller size, Lady rushed to defend the children by trying to scare off the mountain lion.

"Lady was doing her thing, barking, you know, posturing for defense and she took off the opposite direction here just to circle back to get momentum for her charge," Havens said.

As Lady engaged the mountain lion, the parents rushed the children back into the house. But at this point, the big cat had snatched the dog in its jaws.

"I heard her crying out which made me more frantic because, she was my fur baby," Havens said.

The parents then called the police for help and once officers arrived at the property they began firing non-lethal rounds at the mountain lion in attempt to force the cat to release Lady.

Eventually, the mountain lion let her go, but Lady had already suffered significant injuries.

"I'm like 'Oh my God! She's ok! She's alive!'" Havens said. "I'm calling her and she trots back up the back slope to the back door but when she gets to the door I scream."

"She is just a bloody mess. Her eye is bulging, she is labored breathing, she has a hole in her skull," Havens said.

The family rushed her to an animal hospital, but veterinarians said there was nothing they could do for her and she was later put down.

Havens praised Lady for her actions saying the situation could have been "very different" if she had not been there and that her "nanny" instinct is likely the reason why the children were not harmed.

"If she had not been there we would have had a completely different type of tragedy... she was absolutely our hero," Havens said. "She was always keeping watch with the kids."

A mountain lion
A file photo of a mountain lion. A pet dog has been hailed as a “hero” for defending the children in her family as a mountain lion stalked the youngsters at a home in Colorado. iStock