Cougar Attack Blamed for Washington Horse Death

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFD) personnel are hunting a cougar believed to have attacked a horse in Stevens County.

Department spokeswoman Michelle Dunlop said WDFD personnel responded to a call on July 29 regarding a horse that had sustained severe front leg injuries due to a cougar attack. The horse was euthanized due to its injuries, she said.

The attack took place less than a mile from Camp Gilford, a children's camp on Deer Lake in Stevens County, Dunlop said. The cougar was likely seeking water at lake when it attacked the horse, she added.

“The weather in eastern Washington has been hot and dry, which probably prompted the cougar to come down from a higher elevation to seek water at the lake near the camp,” Dunlop said.

Department personnel are now hunting the animal and will euthanize it if it is found, she said.

Dunlop said that, while it's rare for cougars to attack domestic animals, owners in areas where the predators roam should exercise caution.

“The agency recommends keeping horses in a fenced area with an electric wire on both the top and bottom of the fencing,” Dunlop said. “Guard dogs also can deter cougars.”

Editor's Note: For more information about protecting horses from predators, see Protect Your Horses from Predatory Wildlife on

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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