The National Park Service confirmed on November 21, 2022, that a pet Chihuahua Mix being walked on a leash in a Los Angeles neighborhood in California was killed by a mountain lion or cougar.
The predator is said to be the well-known P-22 cougar, which is regularly recorded on security cameras and tracked with a collar as part of a park service study.
P-22 is an 11-year-old male cougar weighing around 123 lbs. It roams mostly around Griffith Park in the Santa Monica Mountains, where the Hollywood Hills neighborhood is located.
According to the authorities, the incident happened just right after sunset on November 9 in a quiet residential street when a dog walker with two leashed dogs was suddenly surprised by something that sprung up from the bushes.
“I felt the tug, and I heard Piper squeal. I turned around, and I just saw a face. I didn’t know what it was,” he said.
The Chihuahua Mix that was attacked was named Piper, according to the unidentified dog walker.
According to the dog walker, the attack was captured by surveillance cameras and was over in just a matter of seconds. “He had Piper in his mouth. He didn’t growl at all. I didn’t even hear him. I never had a chance,” he recounted.
Piper’s owner, Daniel Jimenez, said that he and his wife are very much devastated by the loss of their dog, who they adopted in 2014 as a rescue.
He added that he didn’t blame the cougar for the attack but cautioned other pet owners to be safe and alert when walking their pets.
The park service said P-22 was also responsible for killing a koala at the Los Angeles Zoo in 2016.
Incidence Of Cougar Attacks
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, attacks by cougars are considerably rare, and it is unaware if leashed pets have ever been attacked before.
There are, however, several incidents of humans being attacked in California, wherein 22 confirmed incidents have been reported since 1986, with three of the attacks being fatal.
Most attacks happen in the early evenings when mountain lions are most active. They are opportunistic hunters and mainly prey on deer, coyotes, and rodents.
It is estimated that there are between 4,000 and 6,000 mountain lions living in California. They are a protected species and cannot be hunted except when it involves public safety. Their habitat is also getting fragmented due to many human activities and improvements in the area.
The agency advises pet owners to avoid letting their pets roam unleashed in the area, especially during dawn or early evenings. One should also be on guard at all times when walking their pets and be extra alert on mountain trails.
When confronted by a mountain lion, it is important to stay calm and not run away. It is better to face the animal, without approaching it, of course, and make yourselves appear bigger by not crouching and making lots of noises.