Trail runner's dog snatched by mountain lion

A mountain lion on a rock
The dog hasn't been seen since the May 15 attack (Image credit: Kevin Schafer)

Many hikers and runners in mountain lion country bring their dogs on the trail to help keep cougars at bay, but a recent attack shows that your canine friend might not always be your best defense.

On May 15, trail runner Cecilia McAfee, 24, reported to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park that she had been running on Mount Baldy near Bozeman when she heard her dog Indy yelping. According to reporting by KBZK, McAfee followed the sound and saw her dog being dragged off by a mountain lion.

The runner reportedly searched for her dog in the hopes that the lion had given up, but has never been able to find Indy. In October, we reported on a California hiker who was injured while defending dog from mountain lion attack.

If you are running or hiking with a dog in mountain lion country, it's a good idea to keep it on a leash. Stay alert to your surroundings and if you do encounter a mountain lion, don't run as this may trigger their instinct to give chase. Make yourself appear big and make noise as you back up slowly. 

If the mountain lion appears ready to pounce, throw things at it and be prepared to fight using rocks, trekking poles, bear spray or whatever else you have at your disposal. Learn more in our article on what to do if you meet a mountain lion on the trail.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.