Her standard poodle should have been safe, locked inside a 6-foot privacy fence Tuesday in the Highlands neighborhood.
But something brutally attacked Indie that evening, leaving cuts and puncture wounds to her face, neck, chest and abdomen. The owner took the dog to a vet, who told her the size and spread of the wounds looked like they came from a large cat.
The owner warned her neighbors on Facebook and Nextdoor.
“There is most definitely a large animal prowling our neighborhood,” she wrote. “It is large, strong, dangerous and has the ability to climb/jump fences.”
Her story spread, and others shared theirs. One neighbor said he saw an animal the size of a large dog that didn’t run like a dog. Another reported she heard there was a second dog in the Highlands attacked.
And then the phones started ringing at Animal Control and the state Game and Parks Commission from callers concerned about mountain lions.
Animal Control investigated but found no evidence, said director Steve Beal. But when the possibility of mountain lions are suggested, he seeks help from experts at Game and Parks.
Sam Wilson, the commission’s carnivore program manager, said he wasn’t able to investigate because there was no evidence to review. Indie had since died, and there were no photos of her wounds. But he talked to the owner, and her description of the injuries weren’t consistent with wounds you’d expect in a lion attack, he said.
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“Mountain lions are an efficient predator and they often kill and track prey in a specific pattern,” he said.
The multiple and scattered wounds on Indie were more consistent with an attack by a coyote, or another dog.
Further, he said, Game and Parks officials have never confirmed a mountain lion in Lincoln or Lancaster County.
On a follow-up post on Nextdoor, Indie’s owner said she didn’t think to take photos because she was concerned with getting her dog veterinary care.
And there were other dogs present, but they were concerned about Indie, too.
“In fact, my other female standard poodle met me at the door and took me to Indie,” she wrote. “She had been laying with Indie and trying to clean her up. Neither of the other two pups had any injuries.”
She reiterated that multiple vets and techs examined Indie and agreed the injuries appeared to come from a large cat — large, deep, clean slashes on the dog’s jaw, throat and upper chest.
But she’s not sure what happened.
“All I can tell my neighbors is that there is some kind of large, strong and dangerous animal in our neighborhood. It may be gone now, it may not be a puma. I do not know. What I do know is that I saw the wounds, my other pups won’t go outside unless I am with them now and my beloved Indie was severely hurt and died from those injuries.”