When Simone Robertson, her husband and four of their six dogs returned from dinner at a friend’s last Saturday night, an unpleasant surprise was waiting for them behind their Peach Valley home.
The other two dogs, the smaller ones, “were barking like crazy,” she said. So her husband went out back and found one of their two goats dead in their pen, the victim of an apparent mountain lion attack.
The couple mounted a game trail video camera near the pen and, sure enough, the culprit returned. The next morning they were watching a video of the lion with the 80- to 90-pound goat,, named Sebastian, inside the pen.
“It was dragging the body across the pen,” Robertson said during a telephone interview. “I can’t believe this happened in my backyard.”
They called Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Officers set up a trap with the goat’s carcass in it, and on Sunday night the 130-pound cat was in the cage with the dead goat, snarling and growling, she said.
“In general, this is not an uncommon occurrence,” said Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras.
Colorado is home to many species of wildlife, including mountain lions, he noted.
“There’s always the possibility you’ll have an encounter.”
Robertson said this is the second mountain lion she’s seen since moving four years ago to the Peach Valley house, which backs up to BLM land north of County Road 214 a few miles west of New Castle. The other lion was one they found dead two months ago not far from their backyard. She said a neighbor told her she’s seen three lions in the area this year.
Porras said wildlife officers put the animal down, which is “something that we occasionally do,” depending on the circumstances.
“Obviously, human health and safety is our No. 1 priority,” he said, noting that animals are more dangerous after they become habituated to being around people.
“When a lion has learned to get a meal from someone’s livestock, even if we move it, it is likely to resume that behavior,” he said.
Both Robertson and Porras said they had heard no indications that the lion was diseased or injured.
Robertson said most of the time, when all six dogs are on the property, she isn’t too concerned about wild animals.
But since the goat was killed, “Sure, I’m a little bit scared and paranoid. … I worry about the animals, but we do live in nature,” she said.