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Dog hospitalized defending owner from mountain lion attack in California

A brave dog is in recovery tonight after defending its owner against a mountain lion

TRINITY COUNTY, Calif. — A woman and her dog were attacked by a mountain lion as they went down a walking path near Big Bar Monday afternoon.

The woman and her dog Eva were traveling along State Route 299 when she pulled over near a picnic area and started walking on a path with Eva leading slightly ahead of her. 

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Captain Patrick Foy told ABC10 the woman had noticed movement beside her before a mountain lion attacked and swiped her across the left shoulder. 

The screams alerted Eva, a Belgian Malinois, who authorities said immediately engaged the mountain lion. 

The mountain lion bit Eva on the head and would not let go as her owner tried to save her by throwing rocks and trying to gouge the lion's eyes, officials said.

After being unable to separate them, the woman went back up to the road and flagged down a passing vehicle. The driver stopped and retrieved a can of pepper spray from her car, spraying the mountain lion in the face with little to no effect. 

When the mountain lion began to drag Eva to a different location off the trail, officials said her owner and the passerby got a piece of PVC pipe which they used to hit the mountain lion over the head until it released Eva.

The woman drove Eva to a veterinarian for emergency treatment. At this time, Eva's condition is unknown. 

Eva's owner drove herself to a hospital in Redding where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, including bite wounds, scratches, bruises and abrasions. 

CDFW said the initial evidence from the investigation is strong enough to treat it as a legitimate attack. 

Officials said they are working with allied agencies to trap the mountain lion and will further evaluate the situation if it is caught. 

Captain Foy said, "being attacked by a mountain lion is extremely rare," but in the case that you encounter one, "fight back." 

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