Mountain Goats chillin' on the rocks.
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Mountain Goat Gores 2 Dogs and Tosses 1 Over Cliff on Popular Utah Hiking Trail

The 14.2 mile out and back Mount Timpanogos trail is a popular hiking spot, and home to a large population of Rocky Mountain goats.

Crowded hiking trails and wildlife rarely mix. Unfortunately, for one popular Utah hiking area, dogs are bearing the brunt of the conflict. Rocky Mountain goats, which fill the hillsides of Mount Timpanogos near Orem, Utah, no longer fear people and their pets and are instead attacking pups hiking along the trail.

According to Cowboy State Daily, two dogs were fatally gored by mountain goats in the last three weeks, and one was tossed over a cliff, falling to its death. Worst yet, all of these attacks happened right before their owner's eyes.

Utah County Sheriff's office spokesman Spencer Cannon told the outlet that the third dog was a black Labrador retriever. "It was reported that the dog was harassing a female mountain goat, and she had two babies—or kids—with her," Cannon said. "And the goat apparently decided, 'I've had enough of this' and went after the dog.'"

The other dogs were gored, but it wasn't apparent if the Labrador was as well during her encounter with the goat.

According to the Forest Service, mountain goats aren't usually aggressive, but they do have sharp, potentially lethal horns they've been known to use in defense of their personal space.

Trouble between people, dogs, and mountain goats is nothing new. According to Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokeswoman Faith Heaton Jolly, issues have been brewing for a while.

"Mount Timpanogos is a very popular high-elevation mountain hike, and there have definitely been other reports and incidents over the years of mountain goats being aggressive there," she told Cowboy State Daily. "Because there are so many people that hike and backpack in that area, the goats are used to having people in their habitat.

"The goats use many of the same trails that the people do, and the conflicts arise when people get too close or let their dogs off-leash, as in these instances. I backpacked up there last summer and was shocked at how close the goats came toward us, but I knew to back away and give them a healthy distance." Jolley added.

Since dogs are the goats' biggest antagonists, the DWR suggests that hikers keep their pups on leash or avoid the issue altogether by leaving them at home. (Mount Timpanogos does not have a leash requirement for their trails.) But Cannon told Cowboy State Daily that they are encouraging dog owners to keep them on leashes for their safety. Mountain goats aren't the only threat to dogs and people on Mount Timpanogos. The area is also home to deer, black bears, mountain lions, and moose.

While the mountain goat attacks are terrifying, officials aren't concerned about people's safety as long as they keep their distance and don't antagonize the animals.

Cannon said, "We don't have any rouge mountain goats up there deliberately charging people or using their horns just for fun. In each of these instances, we think the mountain goats felt threatened by the dogs."

READ MORE: Environmentalists Balk at Utah's Introduction of Mountain Goats Into Alpine Ecosystems