Lion shot after menacing donkeys
Published: Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
And Amos thought helping tourists cross Mount Rushmore Road was dangerous.
That danger was nothing compared to the danger the donkey that belongs to Ron and Tonya Flora experienced last Saturday,âï¿½ï¿½March 13, when a mountain lion chased him and a baby donkey around the Floras’ property.
Ron Flora said it was around 10:30 p.m. when nearby resident Todd Albertson came to his place and told him there was a mountain lion chasing his donkeys inside the fence that kept them in on the seven and a half acres of property at the Flora place just north of town in Bavarian Hills Estates.
Flora grabbed his rifle and a spotlight and went outside to look. He was joined by another neighbor, who looked down the hill with his flashlight. There, sitting next to the barn, was the mountain lion.
“Iâï¿½ï¿½didn’t know whether Iâï¿½ï¿½should shoot it or not,”âï¿½ï¿½Flora said.âï¿½ï¿½“Iâï¿½ï¿½was thinking, ‘Should I, or shouldn’t I?’”
Because the lion wasn’t chasing the donkeys at the time, he decided to call the Custer County Sheriff’s Office to ask what he should do. He had one hand on the phone, the other on his rifle, asking if he was allowed to kill the cat before it attacked his animals. The sheriff’s department referred the call to Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P).
A GF&P conservation officer arrived what Flora guesses was between 30 and 45 minutes later. The entire time of the wait the cat sat by the barn, eyeing the donkeys, unafraid of the humans who were only 40 yards away.
“He sat in one spot for 45 minutes. I couldn’t believe it,”âï¿½ï¿½Flora said.âï¿½ï¿½“He had his mind set. He wasn’t scared of anything.”
Once the conservation officer arrived, he determined the lion had to be dispatched because of its aggressive behavior toward the donkeys. Two shots to the neck killed the lion, a massive 148-pound male with paws as big as a human man’s hand.
Flora said he knows of more lions in the area, and said this was the third time he has seen one in the area. He said virtually everyone in the neighborhood has found lion kills in their yard.
Despite that, Flora said having lions in the area really doesn’t bother him, except for the donkeys’ sake. The donkeys don’t want to go near the barn anymore, and he wants them to be able to run around the property without being attacked.
“I don’t really want to have to lock them up,”âï¿½ï¿½he said.
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