CAREY, Idaho (KLIX)-A small dog was attacked and taken by a mountain lion near Carey at a private hot spring on Thursday this week.

According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, a family had stopped at the Wild Rose hot springs along Highway 20 on Thursday, November 5, with their small dog when the big cat grabbed it and disappeared, the dog was never found. Idaho Fish and Game said in a statement Friday that anyone who visits the area, which is 17 miles east of Carey on private property, should be aware that there could be mountain lions around.

Typically the big cats are shy and avoid people, but they have attacked small dogs and other animals before. Several dogs had been attacked in the nearby Wood River Valley this past winter, some in their own back yards. Idaho Fish and Game recommends people be aware of their surroundings and vigilant for mountain lions.

Officials provided the following tips if people encounter mountain lions:

Wildlife managers agree that if a person is in close proximity to a lion, meaning they see it, they should:

- NEVER run away from a mountain lion. The lion’s instinct is to chase and ultimately catch what they perceive as a potential prey.

- NEVER turn your back on a lion. Always face them while making yourself look as large as you can. Yell loudly, but don’t scream. A high-pitched scream may mimic the sound of a wounded animal.

- SLOWLY back away while maintaining eye contact with the lion.

- Safety equipment you may choose to carry could include bear spray, a noise device, like an air-horn, and if you walk in the dark, a very bright flashlight.

- If you are attacked, fight back!

Remember to use all of your senses to detect if a mountain lion is near. Using a light to help you see your surroundings is very important, whether it is on trails or in your yard, or as you walk in your neighborhood. If you run or bike for personal fitness, use caution when wearing headphones which take away your ability to hear if a lion, or any other wildlife, is giving you signals that you’re too close.

Pet safety

Mountain lions are opportunistic predators, meaning they don’t know when their next meal will happen, and will often attempt to take prey when it presents itself. A lion may perceive a pet as prey. To keep pets safe, owners are strongly encouraged to follow these safety tips:

- Keep your pets on a leash.

- Watch the pets’ behavior, since they may sense the lion before you can actually see them.

Reporting mountain lion sightings and encounters

Any mountain lion incident that results in an attack should be immediately reported to the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359 during business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. If after hours, local conservation officers can be reached by calling the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline at 1-800-632-5999.

Mountain lion sightings and observations should be reported to the Fish and Game, Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359.

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