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Nev. woman hurt in mountain lion attack

December 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Nevada wildlife officials and a houndsman with dogs searched Thursday for a young mountain lion that attacked a woman in the foothills of Virginia City southeast of Reno - only the second such attack in the state on record. The woman suffered minor injuries when she tried to break up a fight between the cat and her dog Wednesday night in her backyard just off of the mountain highway connecting Reno to the historic mining town, Storey County sheriff's officials said.

"They have not found the perpetrator, but they have a hot trail in the cold snow. These are perfect conditions to track it," Nevada Wildlife Department spokesman Chris Healy told The Associated Press Thursday afternoon.

Numerous sightings of mountain lions are reported each year in Nevada, but the only other record of an attack was in April 1991 when a woman at the Nevada Test Site north of Las Vegas suffered minor injuries, Healy said.

"It is a rare thing indeed," he said.

That mountain lion was found and put to death.

This one's tracks indicate it's a younger cat, probably a yearling, Healy said.

Winds gusting up to 40 mph were hampering the search team, which may or may not resume the hunt on Friday, depending on the weather, he said.

"Even if they don't catch it, it seems to have headed out of any populated area and up into the hills," Healy said.

Storey County deputies responded to the incident Wednesday night. The woman, whose name has not been released, was treated at the scene by county medical personnel. The dog also suffered minor injuries that required treatment from a veterinarian.

"If you have ever broken up a dog fight, the hands that go in are usually the hands that end up bitten," Healy said.


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