Mountain lion enters Summit County home |

Mountain lion enters Summit County home

Jane Stebbins

UTE PASS – Jim Nicholas was taking a nap last weekend when his wife, Natalie, rushed into the bedroom, screaming that there was a mountain lion in their home on Ute Pass – possibly attracted there by the couple’s toddler, Trevor, who was crying himself to sleep.”I was like, ‘Honey … what are you talking about, a mountain lion?'” Nicholas said.He looked out the upstairs bedroom window and saw half the tail of the mountain lion sticking out the front door, he said. The cat took one of his wife’s sandals and retreated to the top of the hill, where it proceeded to chew on it.”Having the kids in the house, I would have shot the thing right there, but I was so asleep, all I could think was, ‘This is bad,'” Nicholas said.Nicholas was also unnerved because when he went into the forest to find his wife’s slipper, the big cat just stared him down, he said. “When I went up to that cat, he looked at me like I wasn’t a threat to him,” he said.Later that evening and just down the hill, Christy Sterling was throwing a stick for a dog she was taking care of when a mountain lion – most likely the same one that entered Nicholas’ home – jumped over the split rail fence and attacked the dog.”He just kind of crouched there, in attack mode,” Sterling said. “The first thing I thought was that it was a coyote. But then I saw it and thought, ‘What the bleep is that?!'”Sterling, who was watching another friend’s toddler, rushed the boy to a van for safety. The dog, who weighs 55 pounds, was able to wrestle away from the cat and escaped with a small scratch on his side.”Lucky dog,” said Todd Malmsbury, a spokesman for the state Division of Wildlife. “A golden retriever is easy prey.”It’s rare for mountain lions to attack animals when people are nearby, he said.”It might have been more of a reaction to the dog running toward him,” Malmsbury said. “It doesn’t sound like a predatory attack.”

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