Mountain Lion Attack Details Questioned

Dog owner William Morse, his wife Kandy and their dog Hogie were out for a walk along a trail in the Cleveland National Forest Tuesday when "out of nowhere a mountain lion just charged us, attacked us, and my dog saved our life, saved me and my wife's life."

The black shepherd-mix dog, named Hogie, was severely injured in Tuesday's noon incident but was expected to recover following surgery at a Riverside County veterinary hospital.

On Wednesday, state officials with the California Department of Fish and Game released statements that contradicted Morse’s accounts. In the new scenarios, Hogie was the aggressor and the mountain lion was provoked.

Fish and Game Lt. Dan Sforza told the Orange County Register that the big cat likely acted in self-defense.

"It doesn't look like the lion was interested in the dog as a meal," Sforza told the newspaper. "It was just defending itself.
Sforza said investigators believe the animals apparently spotted one another at the same time, and the lion started to run off, chased by the dog, contrary to what the dog's owner claimed.

State wildlife officials said they found no blood, hair or tracks at the site and they're not clear what type of animal attacked the dog.

Morse told The Californian Thursday that he feels betrayed. He said he told state wardens and officials the exact same story and now those same officials are releasing statements that contradict his account.

Kandy Morse told the paper she’s also confused by the recent turn of events. Her husband considers the state’s response to be an attempt to quiet any sort of panic that might have been sparked by the report of a mountain lion attack.

As the story has spread on the Internet, people have chimed in to blame the Morses for the incident. If Hogie had been leashed as required by state law, some neighbors of the Morses believe, there wouldn’t have been a problem.

"What should (Hogie) have done?" William Morse asked. "Waited until the cat attacked me?"

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