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Mountain lion attacks 2 dogs in Idaho subdivision

KETCHUM, Idaho -- One dog has died and another is injured after they were apparently attacked by a mountain lion in a subdivision south of Ketchum.

Wildlife officials trapped and released the mountain lion in a remote area after the Thursday attacks, The Idaho Mountain Express reported.

A female Australian shepherd, named Pepper, died from its wounds after the attack in the Gimlet neighborhood and a male yellow Labrador retriever, named Barkley, is recuperating.

The Labrador’s owners, Jan and Ed Cummins, say their dog was attacked after going outside Thursday morning. The couple said when their dog didn’t return after about 20 minutes, Ed Cummins blew a high-pitched whistle and Barkley came running. The dog didn’t stop at the door but raced inside the house and hid. He was bleeding from puncture wounds on his neck and face.

Barkley’s wounds had to be drained and partially stitched and he spent the night at a veterinary hospital.

“Barkley is doing OK. He is happy to be home and wagging his tail,” Ed Cummins said.

Pepper’s owner Erin Pfaeffle wasn’t as lucky. She said Pepper went outside a few hours after Barkley and didn’t return home. When Pfaeffle went to look for her dog, she found Pepper’s body in her garage. She said it appears someone brought the dog’s body home because judging by the dog’s injuries, Pepper did not likely make her way to the garage on her own.

“She was mauled really badly,” Pfaeffle said. “But we’re grateful that someone brought her home to us.”

Idaho Department of Fish and Game spokesman Kelton Hatch said the department set up a baited cage trap near the site Thursday night and caught a cougar hours later. The lion was released Friday south of Twin Falls. Hatch said mountain lions in the area are common and advised people not feed pets outside, as the food can attract other wildlife.

“I don’t think there’s any reason for people to panic,” he said. “They need to be aware, but I wouldn’t change my activities.”