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Hikers urged to keep pets leashed after mountain goats kill 3 dogs on Timpanogos


By Melanie Porter, Lucy Nelson

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    MOUNT TIMPANOGOS, Utah (KSTU) — Officials are warning pet owners to be responsible after three dogs have been killed in the past three weeks by mountain goats on Mount Timpanogos.

The latest incident happened on Saturday when a dog was off leash and harassed a mother goat with babies, the Timpanogos Emergency Response Team reported.

After being harassed, the mother goat pushed the dog off a cliff, leading to its death.

“It is the responsibility of dog owners to keep their animals under control at all times, as well as to pack out their waste,” officials stated. “Allowing your dogs to chase goats carries fines akin to poaching.”

The goats on Mount Timpanogos are usually very mellow, officials explained, and will walk close to people. Despite their friendly demeanor, it’s recommended to keep your distance and give them space.

“On the mountain, goats and wildlife have right of way,” officials said. “We are guests in their space.”

All three dogs were either gored or pushed off the mountain, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon said even one attack from a mountain goat like this is incredibly rare but serves as a good reminder for pet owners.

“It’s tragic that these dogs have died in these incidents. You know, I think animal owners who take their pets with them on hikes like this, whether or not there is a leash law, the owner has to maintain control of their dog at all times,” he said.

Tyler and Whitney Albee, who were on the mountain during the most recent attack, agreed. At the start of their hike, they received a warning they never expected to hear.

“At the base, we had the Timpanogos Emergency Response Team. They had a member at the bottom that told us about the goats and that two dogs had died in two weeks and to keep our dog on a leash,” Tyler said.

They had been planning on keeping their 4-year-old yellow lab Bailey on a leash during the hiking portion and were going to let her off-leash while camping at night. But this advice changed their minds.

“We were woken up by a herd of 21 mountain goats running through our little camp spot there, so it was a lot more than we were thinking,” Whitney said.

“I was grateful for the warning to keep Bailey on a leash because while we were just in camp around the tents or cooking our food, goats would constantly be, you know, popping over the little hills and coming through the trees directly into our camp, and you never knew when it was gonna happen,” Tyler added.

They were glad they followed that advice, but sad when they learned that an off-leash black lab they passed earlier was the latest victim.

Scott Root with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says a good rule of thumb is to try and stay 50 yards away from mountain goats at all times.

He says it doesn’t surprise him that the goats would go so far as to push dogs off mountains if they feel threatened.

“Typically, the nannies — the female goats — have their young, their kids, and they can be very protective of those young goats,” Root said. “And then in the fall, later October to about early December, that’s when the billies get aggressive, and so you’ve got to be careful around them.”

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