Suspected lion proves elusive | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Suspected lion proves elusive

Amanda Fehd

Authorities say nothing ever came of a search for a suspected mountain lion after a pet in the Kingsbury area was attacked last month by a large animal and received 20 stitches on its right front leg.

Tom Kilby, a wildlife specialist for Nevada Wildlife Services, searched the area with bloodhounds in an attempt to track the animal. He found scat, large paw prints and scratchings on dirt that cats typically will make to cover their droppings.

Wildlife Services is an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It traps wild animals that pose a threat to humans or livestock. The department works with the Nevada Division of Wildlife to address problem animals.

Mountain lions are a part of area wildlife, said Carl Lackey, a biologist with the division. But it was never confirmed what type of animal attacked Duke, a Rhodesian ridgeback owned by Patrick Somma of Stateline.

“Mountain lions aren’t up there in very high densities, and they are very shy, very secretive,” Lackey said. “Lions see people more often than people see them.”

Coyotes are another potential predator of household pets in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

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People should not let their pets run freely, Lackey said, to avoid incidents with wild animals.