Horse dies after mysterious attack in Clackamas Co.

Horse dies after mysterious attack in Clackamas Co. »Play Video

A mysterious attack in the middle of the night left a horse named Leah seriously injured in Clackamas County.

The horse’s owner, Maddison Disselbrett, put her horse to sleep after the vicious attack on Sunday.

“She’s been my horse for the past 15 years,” said Disselbrett.

The owners of the barn where Leah was attacked said they saw a cougar at the barn after they heard a commotion.

Mark Lytle has spent 26 years investigating thousands of animal attacks in Clackamas County for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. He collects evidence, interviews owners, and examines animal remains to help determine the kind of creature that carried out the attacks in 100 animal deaths per year. 

Animal owners are quick to blame cougars, Lytle says, but the evidence almost always suggests otherwise. He did not investigate Leah’s death, but says he spends the majority of his time collecting evidence to convince owners it was actually not a cougar that killed their animals.

Lytle and his counterparts at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife estimate cougars are actually only responsible for two out of every 100 animal attacks they investigate every year. The other attacks are usually carried out by domestic dogs or coyotes.

Lytle says he has never seen a single case in 26 years where a cougar attacked a horse in Clackamas County.

He has also never seen a single case where an animal survived a cougar attack. He says cougars always attack the animal the same way: a specific puncture pattern to the neck. 

Neither the U.S. Department of Agriculture nor the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has investigated what happened to the horse in this story.

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