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February 29, 2008

Mountain lion reported in Rockwall

By David Wilfong

Herald-Banner Staff



At 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning Ron Gilleland went out the back door of his porch and found quite a surprise waiting in store for him.

“My dogs woke me up and when I got out into the back yard with a spotlight I keep at the back door there was a mountain lion — no, not a bobcat — holding my Boston (Terrier) in his mouth and about to leap the fence with her,” Gilleland recounted. “I yelled and started running towards the cat and it released my dog and jumped over the fence as easily as you would step up a curb.”

Gilleland lives in the heart of residential Rockwall. Just down the hill from the Ridge Road Shopping Center, so the incursion of a mountain lion into his back yard would mean that the animal was literally “walking the streets.”

In communication with his neighbors, Gilleland described the injuries to his dog.

“My dog is in surgery this morning trying to fix all the damage in her head, face and neck,” he stated. “The puncture wounds on the back of her head are more than three inches apart indicating that the fangs on the cat make it a big cat.”

On Wednesday evening Gilleland said that his dog had been through surgery and the outlook was optimistic that the dog would live.

There have been numerous unconfirmed reports of mountain lion sightings in Collin County. The most recent in the news have been along the border of Allen and Lucas, though other sightings have come from heavy residential areas in Plano. Some speculate that the sightings are misidentified accounts of bobcats, which are relatively common to the area.

Gillelands wife, Lee, is quick to point out that her husband is a qualified observer.

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