Mountain Lion Savages Family Dog in Backyard Moments After Kids Went Inside

A dog has been hailed as a hero after it defended a Utah family from a mountain lion, suffering dozens of wounds in the process.

The incident occurred in the city of Cedar Hills on Wednesday evening, when 7-year-old Labrador Ella was at home with her family.

Ella's owner, Crystal Michaelis, noticed that the dog was acting strangely, and seemed to be paying close attention to her children who were playing in the yard.

"She kept looking at the kids and then quickly looking back," Michaelis told Utah news station KSL-TV. "She was just being very cautious, and my daughter thought it was very concerning."

Wild puma
A stock photo shows a wild puma, also known as a mountain lion. A dog in Utah was treated for injuries this week after coming face to face with a mountain lion at a family home. JHaviv/Getty

The children went inside, and after that there was an unseen confrontation between Ella and what was reportedly a mountain lion. The family discovered that the fight had happened when they found Ella injured at the back door.

"There was blood all over the door and all over the patio," Michaelis said. Ella had suffered severe cuts on her head and nose as well as along her legs, sustaining more than 30 bites and a concussion.

An officer who attended the property following the attack found tracks in the yard where the fight happened, but there were no sightings of the mountain lion, KSL-TV reported. However, officers at the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources say it's not uncommon to see mountain lions in the area.

Following the attack, Ella was taken to the vet where she was treated for her injuries and was back home the following day. "She can't be replaced, that's for sure," Michaelis told KSL-TV. "She is our hero."

Mountain lions, also known as cougars or pumas, are big cats that can be found throughout Utah, usually in foothill and canyon areas and sometimes in valleys, according to Utah wildlife program Wild Aware Utah.

The program website states that steps to prevent incidents with cougars include removing wildlife attractants from properties including pet food and water sources, not leaving children outside unattended especially at dawn and dusk and bringing pets and livestock inside at night or securing them in a barn or kennel with a top.

Wild Aware Utah tweeted a link to the cougar safety tips on Thursday and said there had been a "handful of cougar sightings within cities and neighborhoods along the Wasatch Front."

A similar incident in which a dog defended its family from a cougar occurred in Colorado in June. In that case, the dog, named Lady, had to be put down due to the severity of its injuries, CBS4 reported at the time.