Mountain goats gore, kill 3 dogs in a month on Mount Timpanogos

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OREM — Hikers have a warning for pet owners after mountain goats on Mount Timpanogos killed three dogs in front of their owners in just one month.

Hiker Melissa Willie climbs the mountain several times a year. She said the mountain goats are not known to charge humans, but they will rush toward dogs if they feel provoked.

She said that's what happened Tuesday to a goldendoodle named Lola.

"I came upon this girl sobbing on top of her dog," Willie said. "I got closer, and she was just covered in her dog's blood and she said that the goat had killed it."

The woman told Willie that her dog was gored by a mountain goat.

"She said the leash had fallen off while she was trekking up there. She comes on this mountain all the time and she wanted to bring her dog, Lola," Willie said.

She saw her dog approach a mountain goat and seconds later before she could intervene, it was killed.

"That kind of breed is super friendly; approached, the goat just charged it and gored it in the chest," Willie said. "I just pet the dog with her, I sobbed tears, it was the most horrific thing I'd ever seen up here on the mountain."

Willie said days later, on Saturday, there was another deadly encounter.

"Goats were trapped on a ridgeline, and a dog charged them barking. And it (the goat) came out to protect its young and gored the dog and actually threw it over the cliff," she said.

She said it's a traumatizing event for these owners.

"Talk about horrific, having to carry your dog on your shoulders down the mountain, probably sobbing the whole time," Willie said.

I just pet the dog with her, I sobbed tears, it was the most horrific thing I'd ever seen up here on the mountain.

–Melissa Willie, hiker

Dog owner Andrew Barney knows how it feels firsthand. His 6-year-old dog, Ruby, was attacked by a goat in 2021.

"We were up at Emerald Lake during the daytime and just hanging out there at the shelter," he said.

A scary encounter with a mountain goat made the animal her enemy.

"She came around the corner of the shelter and a goat and a kid were right there," Barney said.

In a matter of seconds, he said, the goat knocked down his dog.

"The goat hooked her with the horns and tossed her in the air," he said.

He carried a bloody and traumatized Ruby down the mountain.

"She had multiple entry wounds and exit wounds from the horns in her leg," he said.

Ruby has since healed.

"I realize how lucky I was and how it could've been very different," Barney said.

He and Willie want other pet owners to know about the risks that come with bringing their dogs into areas where there is a lot of wildlife around.

"This is their home, we are intruding on them, so we need to respect them and their space," Willie said. "Personal opinion: Dogs play no part up here unless they're on a leash, at a minimum."

Barney and Ruby are back to hiking and trail running, but they do so cautiously.

"Know your dog, know their limits, their abilities, know how to control and get their attention," he said.

The Timpanogos Emergency Response Team says a third dog also died after being gored by a goat on the mountain, but details of that incident were not made available.

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