In an article released on Dec. 30, the Mankato Free Press reported that a horse in New Ulm had been attacked – probably by a cougar – and suffered wounds of such severity that she was euthanized. A treating veterinarian who had been called to administer treatment to Mollee, said he believed the attack was from a cougar. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is of a different opinion, however.
Mollee was discovered in her outdoor paddock with a long gash from her neck, down her shoulder and across her side while two other horses in the same paddock had no injuries. Sheryl Robinson, Mollee’s owner, was very distraught because she shared a particularly close bond, formed over six years, with the mare.
Robinson believed the deep gauge was made by coyotes until the veterinarian from Riverside Animal Clinic determined the horse was attacked by a cougar.
The regional office of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources investigated the New Ulm scene where the attack occurred. The wildlife officers found the scene too deteriorated to conclude that it was either a cougar or a coyote attack. They did find some paw prints but were unable to determine what animal made them. The officers were skeptical that a cougar caused the attack because they are rare in Minnesota.
According to DNR Regional Wildlife Manager Ken Varland, cougars attack the prey by the head and neck, and leave puncture wounds where they grip onto the prey. Varland believes the long gashes borne on the horse’s body are not usually seen in a cougar attack.
Robinson remains unconvinced. Meanwhile, she put up a bright light to discourage further attacks.
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