An Evergreen resident saved her dog from a mountain lion attack by giving the panther a few strong kicks with her foot Friday evening.
Julie Wynn-Birr said that after letting Apollo, her 85-pound chow mix, out on the third-floor deck of her home around dusk, she heard squealing and a low roar. When she looked outside, Wynn-Birr said, the mountain lion was on top of her dog, gripping him by the head.
After kicking the lion on his head and ribs with her foot, the animal ran off, she said.
"That finally deterred him."
Wynn-Birr took Apollo to the veterinarian to treat his head wounds. The vet told her that the dog was fortunate to have survived the attack, and that the dog's long hair helped save him.
Wynn-Birr said that in the 23 years she has lived in The Ridge at Hiwan, she has seen mountain lions occasionally. She is an artist who has created paintings of the big cats, and understands their danger to pets.
Wynn-Birr said that because her dog was on the third floor of her home, she thought he had a reasonable measure of safety. However, the mountain lion climbed a nearby tree and jumped onto the deck to reach the dog.
"I have such compassion for animals," she said. "That mountain lion must have been hungry."
Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesperson Jennifer Churchill said that residents need to be aware of the presence of wildlife in the area. Although bears are hibernating this time of year, mountain lions and coyotes are present, she said.
"Everyone should be diligent about their pets," Churchill said.
Wynn-Birr said she will have to watch Apollo more closely and not let him out alone, especially around dawn and dusk when wildlife are active.
Since the attack on her dog, Wynn-Birr said, she has been having trouble sleeping.
"When I close my eyes, I see it," she said. "I'll never forget this."
Contact Sandy Barnes at email@example.com or call 303-350-1042.