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Idaho Fish and Game

After reported wildlife attack on dog near Hulls Gulch, F&G offers tips for residents and pet owners


On Monday morning, Fish and Game Southwest Region staff received a report from a Boise resident, near 8th St. and Hulls Gulch, that their dog had been taken from their back yard by a wild animal the prior morning.

The homeowner stated that shortly after letting their 18-pound miniature labradoodle out, they went out to get the dog and found only blood in the front yard with a blood trail leading up over a 4-foot retaining wall and to the open foothills.

A Fish and Game Conservation Officer investigated the area and found bobcat and coyote tracks, and only a collar left about 100 yards from the residence. While the officer was unable to locate the dog and say definitively what type of predator was responsible for the attack, based on the scene, the officer suspected that the dog was initially attacked by a larger feline — likely a bobcat based on the tracks — before it was scavenged and removed by a number of coyotes.

A bobcat at the MK Nature Center in 2021

“One of the many things to love about living in Idaho is that — even in Boise — we are situated on the edge of the untamed,” said Regional Supervisor Josh Royse. “But when you live in that urban-wildland interface, predators are a part of the landscape. An apparent wildlife attack on a dog is a truly unfortunate reminder of that reality. While we know that conflicts between wildlife and pets can and do occasionally happen, that knowledge doesn’t make it any less tragic for pet owners when situations like this arise, and my heart goes out to them.”

Fish and Game staff will be doing door-to-door educational outreach in the neighborhood where the incident occurred, and is monitoring for any additional reports of conflicts or abnormal wildlife behavior in the area.

The reported incident with the dog comes amid numerous reports of mountain lion sightings, both in Boise proper and neighborhoods situated near the foothills. While such sightings are not particularly common, they do happen almost every year in Boise and surrounding areas.

A young mountain lion takes refuge in a backyard tree in Ketchum May 2021.

Bobcat and coyote sightings occur frequently, and black bears also occasionally make their way into town. In most cases where wildlife finds its way into urban areas, they move through without conflict. In neighborhoods that back up to open, wild spaces such as the Boise foothills, the potential for conflict between wildlife and pets is higher.

Coyote in an urban area in 2010

“The Boise foothills are home to many of the state’s predator species, small and large,” Royse said. “With winter approaching and prey species moving down in elevation, predator species are also moving closer to town, and this is a time of year where residents and pet owners should consider taking additional precautions to reduce the potential for conflicts.”

Here are some steps that homeowners and pet owners can take to minimize the potential for conflicts with wildlife, particularly predator species found around the Treasure Valley:

  • Never feed wildlife — Feeding, whether directly or indirectly, can cause predators to become habituated to humans, which may lead to uncharacteristically bold or aggressive behavior.
  • Secure your garbage — Unsecured garbage or compost piles can attract predators directly, or indirectly by attracting prey species to your property. Keep your trash bins inside a secure building when possible, don’t overfill them and take out the trash on the morning of pickup, not the night before.
  • Close off crawl spaces — Spaces under decks, sheds or houses can seem like an inviting place for wildlife to take up shelter, whether it’s to rest, to feed, to seek cover from the weather, or to raise their young. Having a coyote, bobcat or mountain lion take up residence in your back yard can greatly increase the potential for conflict, so close off these areas to exclude animals from using them.
  • Cut back thick brush — Brush around your property can provide hiding places for both predator and prey species. In the Boise foothills, brushy areas can attract a variety of species including quail, rabbits, and raccoons, among others. Many of these are on the menu for the area’s predator species, and thick brush also provides great cover for ambush predators like bobcats and mountain lions.
  • Mind your bird feeders — Messy bird feeders attract not only birds, but also small mammals that are commonly preyed upon by smaller predators like coyotes and bobcats, and sometimes preyed upon by larger predators like mountain lions when larger prey sources are unavailable. It might be wise to remove your bird feeders if these predator species are being seen frequently around your neighborhood.
  • Feed pets indoors — Feeding your pets outside can attract many wild animals.
  • Keep an eye on vulnerable small pets — Nearly all of the predator species found around the Treasure Valley may view cats and small dogs as potential food. Even larger dogs can be viewed as food for mountain lions, and as competition for coyotes. If you live on the urban-wildland interface, keep a close eye on your pets when you let them out in your yard, particularly around the dawn and dusk hours. When you are away from home with your pets in an area where you know there has been predator activity, keep them close on a short leash.
  • When to call Fish and Game — The presence of a mountain lion, bear, coyote or bobcat alone is often not cause for concern — even in Boise. Typically, these species are more wary of humans than we are of them. If you spot one of these animals exhibiting normal behavior, showing wariness of humans and simply moving through your neighborhood, there is no need to panic. If you are inclined to do so, submit a wildlife observation on Fish and Game’s website.

    In situations where predatory wildlife is exhibiting abnormal behavior (such as a lack of fear of humans, approaching or following pets or people), or where a conflict has occurred or there is an immediate threat to human safety, you should contact Fish and Game’s Southwest Regional Office promptly at 208-465-8465, or your local emergency dispatch. The earlier Fish and Game learns of these issues, the better the range of outcomes for both the animal and public safety.