A woman intervened in an apparent fight between two dogs, only to discover one of the combatants was in fact a mountain lion.
The Idaho woman leapt into the action after spotting her dog facing off with another animal.
“As she pulled the two animals apart, she realised that in one hand she held a juvenile male mountain lion, about 35 pounds, and not another dog as she expected,” said the Idaho department of fish and game in a statement.
The woman called for her husband to grab a gun from inside their house in Mackay, Custer County.
“Her husband responded and quickly dispatched the mountain lion as she held on to it,” added the IDFG.
The couple called local authorities and an officer from the department arrived to collect the carcass of the cougar.
It will be tested at a wildlife forensic laboratory “to determine if disease may have played a part in the lion’s behaviour”, the IDFG said.
The woman and her dog both suffered scratches from the mountain lion but were “doing fine”,” the department added.
The incident on 30 January was the third reported mountain lion attack on a dog in Idaho last month. Such attacks typically increase in winter as the cats emerge from snowy mountain area in hunt of deer and elk.
Earlier this week a man strangled to death a mountain lion after it attacked him as a ran on a trail in Horsetooth Mountain Park in Colorado.
The runner, whose name has not been released, was jogging alone when the cougar pounced and bit him on the face and wrist.
The man fought back and choked the mountain lion with his bare hands, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.