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Thunder Bay woman warns pet owners after lynx attacks her dog

Feb 22, 2018 08:58AM ● By Editor

CBC News Posted: February 21, 2018

A pet owner in Thunder Bay, Ont. is warning others in the McVicar Creek neighbourhood to be hyper-vigilant after her dog was suddenly attacked by a lynx on Monday evening.

Several residents in the city posted videos and photos to a public forum on Facebook to warn others about the wild cat that was spotted near the Marina Park at around 5 p.m. on Family Day, Monday Feb 19.

At around 8 p.m. Nowell Sleep said her and her 14-pound white maltipoo were outside near the parking lot of Brookside Place on North Algoma Street when she felt a "tug on her leash."

"This was right at the front entrance of the condo," Sleep told CBC News on Wednesday morning.

"I couldn't even see her and there was something on top of the dog and at that point it was some animal and I knew if I didn't do something Molly would die."

Sleep said she quickly reacted in desperation without even realizing what kind of animal it was.

Fresh lynx prints in front of Brookside Place condo in Thunder Bay Ont

Sleep said she saw fresh tracks from the lynx outside her Brookside Place condo the following day on Tuesday, Feb 20. (Nowell Sleep / Molly's owner)

"I picked the lynx up behind the front paws and I shook it so it would disengage Molly," Sleep explained, "and I picked up Molly and then ran inside the front entrance."

She said she then quickly shut the front entrance door and realized the lynx was only about two feet away, starring at her and her dog, Molly.

Full of blood, Sleep said she took Molly to a vet that night.

"The vet said that ... she was very lucky because she had eight puncture wounds but she didn't need any sutures or any surgery," Sleep said. 

She said the lynx made no sound before it attacked Molly.

Police receiving lynx calls

In a media release issued on Wednesday, Thunder Bay police said they've received some calls over the last few days about the lynx, and officers responded to one call about the animal on Tuesday. However, the lynx was gone when they arrived.

Police said they will respond to incidents involving the lynx that "pose an immediate threat to human safety."

According to Ron Moen, a biology professor at the University of Minnesota in Duluth, lynx are natural wanderers who are not very shy of people.

"It's certainly unusual in the sense that lynx are usually in the forest ... [but] when you actually see a lynx as opposed to a bobcat, they don't seem to be afraid of you," Moen explained.

"A lot of times a lynx will just sit or stand there and look back at you."

Lynx will attack if chased, cornered

He said people should still avoid the animal and keep their distance as they are known to attack if they feel chased or cornered. 

"Based on my interactions with them in the wild ... you don't want to walk up to it and try to give it a scrap of meat but staying 10 or 15 yards away, I personally would be okay with that," Moen said. 

To listen to a CBC Radio report on lynx in Thunder Bay, follow this link.

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