Dog fights mtn. lion: 'Saved our lives'

Owner: 'You couldn't ask for a better dog'
LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. William Morse, his wife and his dog Hoagie were hiking in a wooded area when a mountain lion approached the Riverside couple at an angle off the trail.

"Out of nowhere, a mountain lion charged us, attacked us," William Morse, told ABC7 Eyewitness News. "My dog saved our lives - me and my wife's life."

The dog had walked farther down the trail, but noticed the big cat and came back. As the mountain lion approached the couple in an aggressive manner, Hoagie the dog attacked the big cat.

Hoagie and the mountain lion fought for less than 10 seconds or so, according to Morse, before the 100-pound mountain lion ran away. The dog was severely wounded in his abdomen.

"It was probably seven-eight seconds long, and it was just a brutal attack," said Morse. "The mountain lion just came out of nowhere."

Hoagie was taken to a nearby animal hospital where he received immediate surgery. The dog has survived surgery and appears to be in stable condition.

Morse says he has been coming to the Cleveland National Forrest for approximately 20 years without incident.

"I'm pretty shaken up still," said Morse. "My dog, Hoagie, is pretty traumatized at this time. And I just don't think I'll ever go back up there and visit the area again."

The organization Actors And Others For Animals called Morse and offered to help pay the veterinary bill.

Morse is grateful for his dog.

"He's about five years old. Just man's best friend," said Morse. "You couldn't ask for a better dog at this time. He saved our life."

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