It’s not unusual for a dog to chase a cat up a tree, but it is when the moggy in question is a mountain lion and the dog is a Jack Russell.
Chad Strenge, of Colman, South Dakota, heard the commotion whilst at home on his farm. He went to investigate, and discovered that Jack, his Jack Russell terrier (very clever with the names these Americans), had chased a mountain lion up a tree on his land.
Now, you really have to imagine the scene here. Jack Russell Terrier – Mountain Lion. One is a short, snappy dog – the other is a very large predator.
After spending some time clinging to the top of the tree, the mountain lion, also known as a cougar, made a break for it and, with Jack’s assistance, Mr Strenge chased it down and shot it. You could have guessed that a story involving a wild animal and an American would have ended in one shooting the other.
The lion weighed in at 150lb (68kg) – a full 133lb (60kg) heavier than the plucky terrier.
Mr Strenge praised his dog, commenting:
“He trees cats all the time. I suppose he figured it was just a cat.”
Jonathan Jenks, a professor and expert on the migration patterns of mountain lions, stated that a hunter would usually need at least three dogs to chase one up a tree. Speaking to newspaper The Argus Leader, he said:
“It very well could have lost a territory and decided to take off from the Black Hills and head this way.”
The cougar was taken to South Dakota State University for study, and Arden Petersen, a spokesman for the Game, Fish and Parks Department of South Dakota confirmed that no charges will be made against Mr Strenge.
Residents of South Dakota can lawfully kill cougars when they feel that they are threatening the lives of their pets, livestock or themselves.
Isn’t that lucky, but perhaps not for the cougar.