Dog killed by mountain lion in downtown Granby

A mountain lion has killed another dog in Grand County — this time in downtown Granby off of Main Street. The attack occurred at about 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the home of Teresa Hertel.

Hertel stated in a Facebook post on Feb. 5 that her dog Maddie was on the home’s enclosed deck outside, with access to a doggy door. When Hertel heard a loud bang on the deck, she went outside immediately to investigate. The dog was gone, but there were “cat like tracks” in the snow, Hertel wrote.

A screenshot of Teresa Hertel’s Facebook post on losing her dog, Maddie on Feb. 4.
Meg Soyars/Sky-Hi News

Colorado Parks and Wildlife was notified on Feb. 5; upon investigation, a wildlife officer determined a mountain lion had taken the dog.

“There was a small gate on the porch to prevent the dog from going off the porch and that was the source of the loud noise,” said Rachael Gonzales, public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “The wildlife officer did notice tracks.”  

Officers were not sure the gender of the lion; it could have been a small, younger male or a female.

Gonzales added that there have been frequent sightings in the Grand County area over the past seven days, including Grand Lake, outside of Tabernash, and now Granby. There was also an unconfirmed sighting in February in Kremmling. However, no Kremmling sightings have been called into Parks and Wildlife since a mountain lion was seen attacking cats in Old Park in January.

“We’ve gotten video confirmation of lions in the area,” Gonzales said, emphasizing that every sighting should be called in immediately.

“If you see a mountain lion, please let us know. The sooner we know about a lion in the area, the sooner we can go out and track … and see behavior,” she said. “If you see a dead carcass in your yard, like a deer, let us know.”

A dead carcass can attract lions to the area. Gonzales added that the best way to keep mountain lions away from pets and property is to stay vigilant, hazing lions away when necessary. Lastly, she stated residents should remain extra cautious and follow all of Parks and Wildlife’s safety recommendations, which are on the Parks and Wildlife website.

Hertel wrote to Sky-Hi News that she was shocked and devastated to realize that lions were by her home near Main Street.

“I would have protected Maddie so much more if I knew that there were mountain lions in Granby. But there was nothing said, only in Grand Lake and Kremmling,” Hertel wrote. “She was the sweetest dog I have ever known and now she is gone. It is so heartbreaking knowing how she died. We have to know what is going on. Not told after the pet is dead.”

She said many of her fellow pet owners have reported that the recent mountain lion attacks have changed the way they interact with their dogs, including how often they let them outside the home. Many feel helpless.

“We are so scared that the mountain lion could be lingering around our home,” Hertel wrote. “It has changed our lives … it has made us a prisoner in our home. Something has to be done about these attacks to our loved ones.”

To report a mountain lion sighting or encounter in Grand and Summit counties, contact the Hot Sulphur Springs District office at 970-725-6200.  For after-hours wildlife emergencies, contact the Colorado State Patrol at 970-824-6501 and they will forward all reports on to wildlife officers. It is Colorado law that mountain lions cannot be killed for attacking pets, which are considered personal property.

Mountain lion safety tips

When encountering a lion, Parks and Wildlife recommends the following steps:

  • If you see a mountain lion, haze it away from your property by making loud noises – setting off your car alarm, banging pots and pans together, blowing a whistle or air horn, etc. Do not allow mountain lions to feel comfortable in your yard.
  • Do not feed wildlife. Feeding one species will bring in the entire food chain. Remove bird feeders. Birdseed will attract numerous small game and deer to your yard, which will in turn invite mountain lions.
  • Make noise, and turn on lights, if you come and go during the times mountain lions are most active, which is dusk to dawn.
  • If deer are lingering on your property, you can haze them away (yell, use air horn, alarms, etc.) to minimize the chance of a mountain lion encounter in your yard. If you have deer, you will have mountain lions.
  • Closely supervise children whenever they play outdoors. Talk with children about mountain lions and teach them what to do if they meet one. Teach your children to be SMART if they have a close encounter with a mountain lion or other predator: S- Stop. Do not run! M- Make yourself look big A- Announce your presence in an authoritative voice “LEAVE ME ALONE LION!” R- Retreat by backing away slowly T- Tell an adult about the encounter.
  • Supervise your pet when outside, especially dusk through dawn.
  • Don’t feed pets outside; this can attract raccoons and other animals that are prey for mountain lions.
  • Keep your pets under control. Roaming pets are easy prey and can attract mountain lions. Bring pets in at night. If you leave your pets outside, keep them in a kennel with a secure top.
  • Place livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night. Close doors to all outbuildings.
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