Missoula woman, dog pepper sprayed while hiking


MISSOULA, Mont. - A woman and her dog were pepper sprayed while taking a walk near Missoula this weekend.

The two were walking in the Pattee Canyon Recreation Area in the southeast corner of Missoula, near the Crazy Canyon Trail area when the incident occurred.

The woman had her golden retriever unleashed in an area where dogs are allowed to be off-leash, according to Animal Control.

The dog approached a man in the area, who reportedly sprayed the dog with bear spray.

According to the woman, she ran over to stop him and threatened to call police and the man turned and sprayed her in the face.

She tells us she called for help as her eyes began to swell shut. People in the area called police and the woman was taken to St. Patrick Hospital for treatment.

Paige Pavalone with the Missoula County Sheriff's Office says law enforcement officials are still searching for the man.

"She did get pepper sprayed in the eyes and it was very painful for her," says Pavalone. "The dog appeared to be fine and according to the deputies that responded they said the dog was very friendly and approachable and didn't see any reason why anybody would use force against it."

The man has been described as six feet tall, heavier set with grey hair and possibly having some facial hair; he was wearing a green parka and jeans.

Both the woman and the dog are OK but authorities are looking for any information that will help them find the suspect.

If you have any information about this incident you are urged to call Five Valley Crimestoppers at (406) 721-4444.