Cougar that killed family dog in Magna euthanized by police

Dec 15, 2022, 7:13 PM | Updated: Dec 16, 2022, 3:48 pm

MAGNA, Utah — Unified Police are explaining how a cougar attack in Magna led to one of their officers shooting and killing the cat in a family’s backyard.

Officers responded to a home on Pyrite Drive in Magna early Sunday morning, after receiving a call that a mountain lion was in the process of killing the family’s dog.

The family that lives in the home told KSL TV one of their sons let their two dogs out for an early bathroom break. The father heard a noise in the backyard and went outside to find the cougar attacking their Chihuahua mix named Rumble.

He quickly got the second dog, a Chihuahua named Max, inside and called 911.

The family watched out an upstairs window with a spotlight on the backyard, as the cougar continued to attack Rumble. In footage the family took, it’s clear the cougar then transitioned to eating.

Two UPD officers responded and also positioned themselves upstairs.

“There’s the chance that the cougar would finish and then leave, and now we have to track it– and then posing another threat to other domestic animals in the area,” said Sergeant Melody Cutler.

Sgt. Cutler explained that the Division of Wildlife Resources gave UPD orders to kill the cougar immediately. An officer took it out with a single shot from the upstairs window inside the house.

They had no choice, Sgt. Cutler explained, because DWR policy mandates that mountain lions that attack or kill domestic animals, livestock, or humans be euthanized.

Re-locating is not an option in those instances.

“Now that this cougar’s found this source of food, it will become a problem,” Sgt. Cutler said. “It’s really the only way to avoid that problem.”

DWR said they learned the cougar was a female, two-and-a-half years old. She didn’t appear to be sick but may have wandered down from the mountains after deer or in search of food.

It’s not uncommon for mountain lions to go into neighborhoods like the one in Magna, which sits right next to the foothills, they indicated.

Sgt. Cutler acknowledged that the situation was unfortunate, in a clash between nature and neighborhood safety that left two animals dead.

“It’s not just the reality, it’s sad, right? We all have the feelings of, yeah it sucks that this cat’s doing this natural thing and that’s what it does, it hunts, and it found prey and it fed on that prey,” Sgt. Cutler said. “But we also have to realize that that prey could also be a small child.”

DWR urges people to stay aware and don’t leave animals or children unsupervised in backyards, especially at dusk and dawn when cougars are most active. They recommend learning information and tips on wildlife safety at wildawareutah.org.

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