Monday, September 8, 2014


Original Story:

An intense search resumes Monday in the mountains by Silicon Valley for a wild cougar that attacked and injured a 6-year-old boy who was hiking on a nature trail with family and friends.

The California state wildlife officer leading the investigation vowed Sunday night to continue searching with bloodhounds at daybreak and said if captured, the mountain lion will be killed. While the search ended at dusk Sunday, officers remained in the area of the attack overnight. A Warren dog bite lawyer has experience in animal attack cases.

"On occasion the lion will return to the attack scene,'' said Lt. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's law enforcement division.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department said the child was recovering from what were described as moderate injuries after being attacked on a trail in an open space preserve in the Santa Cruz mountains.

The location was about two miles from a winery and near the city of Cupertino, in the heart of the Silicon Valley high-tech industry and home to billionaires.

Foy said the lion attacked while the boy was hiking as part of a group of two families. He was at the front of the group, about 10 feet ahead of the others, and they were able to pull the child away from the cougar. A Grosse Pointe dog bite lawyer represents victims of dog bites and animal attacks.

"It was an ambush type of attack,'' Foy said. "They said it came out of nowhere.''

The attack was consistent with the behavior of a mountain lion attacking prey such as deer, Foy said.
The injuries were not life threatening and described as moderate, sheriff's department Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup said.

About 20 deputies and state wildlife officers searched for the animal until dark and closed hiking trails in the area. People were urged to stay away.

Clothing the boy was wearing was sent to a laboratory for DNA testing, Foy said.

Investigators hope to isolate DNA from any of the big cat's saliva that may have been left on clothing. That and other forensic evidence could be used to confirm whether any mountain lion they track is the one who attacked the child, Foy said.

He said if they find and confirm they have the attacker, it will be killed in the interest of public safety as well as to test for rabies and search for forensic evidence. A Mt. Clemens dog bite lawyer has experience in animal attack cases.

While attacks are rare, mountain lions are known to be present in much of California's wilderness and are sometimes seen in areas where homes and commercial development adjoin wildlands. The state's extreme drought has put pressure on all wildlife in search of food and water.

There have been 13 confirmed mountain lion attacks in California since 1986 prior to this one, according to state wildlife records. Three of those were fatal attacks.

The last attack was in 2012, in Nevada County, Calif., when the victim, a 63-year-old man, survived. Foy was part of that search that lasted six days before it was abandoned without capture. He said this search would be just as intense if not more so.

The area of the attack is known to be a mountain lion habitat, Stenderup said.

"We know mountain lions are up there, but attacks are very rare,'' he said.

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