Cougar nabs dog from deck of house

JOHNSON SIDING, S.D. — Andrea Johnson stood on her back deck Tuesday morning, her eyes full of tears, and pointed to the hillside where she last saw her dog Abby clamped in a mountain lion's jaws.

"I was screaming, 'No! No! No!' " Johnson said. "It still had my dog in its mouth. It wasn't a bit scared. It just looked at me. Then it turned and walked up the hill."

The mountain lion disappeared behind Johnson's rural home, taking with it her 7 1/4-pound Jack Russell terrier.

Johnson's world changed shortly before 7 p.m. Monday, seconds after she carried her other Jack Russell terrier, Jazzy, down the steps of their deck.

Abby, a feisty little dog with a protective nature, was tagging along behind.

"I bent over like this and was patting Jazzy on the back. Abby was right at my heels and started to growl," Johnson said. "I raised up and turned around, and the lion was right there, so close I could have spit on it. That's when the lion grabbed Abby."

Johnson ran into the house and dialed 911. Sheriff's deputies, a state trooper and state Game, Fish and Parks Department officers responded.

"We considered that a very close encounter," said Mike Kintigh, regional GF&P supervisor. "Killing a pet that close to people justified that lion being removed."

A GF&P crew later shot and killed the lion less than a mile from Johnson's house.