TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, Ariz. -- A mountain lion that attacked a group of campers and their dog last week has tested positive for rabies.
The attack took place last Friday as four campers were having breakfast in a remote area of the Tonto National Forest along the Verde River.
The mountain lion surprised the group when it ran out of the bushes and began fighting with their pit bull and Labrador retriever mix.
The owner of the dog hit the mountain lion in the head with an iron skillet, while another camper shot the animal in the head with a pistol.
The group called the Arizona Game and Fish Department, who transported the mountain lion carcass to the Arizona State Health Laboratory for disease testing.
On Monday, tests confirmed that the mountain lion was rabid.
The dog suffered several puncture wounds and scratches that were not life threatening. While the dog is current on its vaccinations, it has still been placed under quarantine as a precaution.
None of the campers was bitten or scratched by the mountain lion.
Officials say the incident is a reminder that you can never be too careful while out in the wilderness.
“People need to pack up a good dose of common sense when they head out into the outdoors. If a wild animal is coming around, stay away from it,” said Will Humble, Arizona Department of Health Services director.
For more information about Arizona’s wildlife, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s website www.AZGFD.com.