SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) — Sherman the Border Collie is doing remarkably well after a scary incident in which a Sonoma County mountain lion dragged the dog by its neck.
“It was a crazy night,” Bennett Valley resident Rebecca Kracker told KRON4. At dusk on November 28, Kracker heard her usually mild-mannered dog growling inside their house.
Sherman had a good reason for growling. A mountain lion entered the house through an open sliding glass door, grabbed onto Sherman with its teeth, and dragged the dog outside.
Cellphone video sent to KRON4 shows the Border Collie stunned and motionless on the ground while the snarling cougar stands over the dog.
“The thought process that happened in my head really fast was, ‘This is not normal. This is a mountain lion,'” Kracker said. She called a neighbor for help.
The neighbor fired a gun into the air and spooked the lion away.
Kracker said her dog, thankfully, did not suffer any serious wounds. “Sherman is doing well. Amazing,” she told KRON4 Wednesday.
The mountain lion killed multiple goats on Kracker’s property before it was euthanized by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
But Bennett Valley residents said they are still feeling on-edge. Neighbor Ron Crane said mountain lion populations in the area are growing, while lions’ main source of food, deer, are decreasing.
“The deer are dwindling, and these kinds of things are going to happen more often,” Crane said.
Crane said it’s fortunate that the lion did not target a small child. “That could have easily have been a kid,” he said. “The local activist organization knew this cat had erratic behavior problems for a while.”
Kracker agreed. “It could have been a little kid. I have lots of friends with 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds. It could have been way worse,” she said.
Mountain lions are naturally afraid of humans, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. But this lion was “unusually old” and displayed behavior that’s not common, according to Audubon Canyon Ranch, a North Bay environmental conservation group.
Audubon Canyon Ranch identified the euthanized lion as “P1,” a female cougar that was collared and tracked by ACR’s Living with Lions project for eight years.
Living with Lions principal investigator Dr. Quinton Martins wrote, “Clearly, something was wrong with P1. She was very old for a mountain lion. In recent weeks, she was more willing to put herself near human activity with people having frequent sightings of her, as well as feeding almost exclusively on livestock, all of which is very unusual behavior.”
Big cat researchers with the Felidae Conservation Fund said the homeowner’s goats likely attracted the mountain lion onto the property as possible prey.
“If you do not bring your pets inside and house your livestock in a roofed and fully enclosed area at dawn, night, dusk, you are likely to draw mountain lions onto your property. By making sure you have the proper housing for them, you are reducing the chance that any lion that visits your property will stick around,” FCF wrote.