Conservation agent doubts Hornersville, Mo., man's dog was attacked by big cat

Monday, March 30, 2009

HORNERSVILLE, Mo. — A resource scientist and associate with the Missouri Conservation Department said that in his opinion, the recent death of a bloodhound was not the result of an attack by a big cat.

Jeff Beringer specializes in the handling of large carnivores and fur bearers. He teaches a class on cougars and has seen several kills.

When examining the wounds to the bloodhound, owned by Hornersville resident Aaron Jamerson, Beringer said, "A cat goes for the neck or throat of an animal and is very efficient in killing."

The cat will either break its opponent's neck or suffocate the opposing animal, Beringer said.

"In all of my work I have never seen a cat attack the rear of an animal," Beringer said. Most of wounds suffered by the dog were on the rear of the animal.

The wounds on the bloodhound look like they came from a canine, Beringer said. The dog was euthanized Tuesday because of the severity of his wounds.

"A canine is not a very efficient killer and causes a lot of trauma to the opposing animal," Beringer said.

When sharing the information with biologists in Arizona, Beringer said he was sent the same conclusion.

There have been no cougars confirmed in Missouri since 2006, Beringer said. In total, 10 have been confirmed between 1996 and 2006, and there have only been 10 instances since 1994 in the state.

Once there is evidence of a big cat, the scientists do research to verify the existence of the animals in the state. The last verifiable case was in 2006 in Livingston County, Beringer said.

"This time of year we see lots of dogs attacked by coyotes," Beringer said.

Coyotes become territorial this time of year because they are protecting new pups.

"I don't know if it was a coyote that attacked this specific dog, or what did attack, but I don't believe it was a cat," Beringer said.

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