MOUNT TIMPANOGOS, Utah – Officials in Utah are warning pet owners to be responsible after three dogs were killed by mountain goats over the past three weeks.
The incidents occurred on the trails at Mount Timpanogos, KUTV reported. According to the Timpanogos Emergency Response Team, the latest incident occurred when an unleashed dog harassed a mother goat with babies. The goat retaliated by pushing the dog off a cliff, which led to the animal’s death, according to the television station.
“Mama mountain goat decided: ‘I’m done with this,’ hooked him and pushed it over a cliff and the dog died,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon, a spokesperson for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, told the Idaho Statesman.
“It is the responsibility of dog owners to keep their animals under control at all times, as well as to pack out their waste,” the Timpanogos Emergency Response Team wrote in a Facebook post. “Allowing your dogs to chase goats carries fines akin to poaching.”
Officials said mountain goats on Mount Timpanogos are usually placid and will walk close to people, KSTU-TV reported. However, officials said that people and animals should keep their distance.
“On the mountain, goats and wildlife have right of way,” officials told the television station. “We are guests in their space.”
All three dogs were either gored or pushed off the mountain, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. All were unleashed when they were attacked, Cannon told the Statesman.
“We don’t have a lot of experiences where mountain goats come at people or animals like this. They typically tend to shy away,” Cannon said. “So to have three (incidents) in three weeks where dogs were killed during the interaction is unusual.”
According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, mountain goats are entering their breeding season, KUTV reported.
“In the fall, when we start getting October and November and even early December, the males, which can weigh over 300 pounds, they can be quite aggressive,” agency spokesperson Scott Root told the television station. “At the present time, I would probably discourage people from taking dogs up around Timpanogos.”