In a particularly horrifying encounter with a California mountain lion, one of the big cats snatched a leashed Chihuahua from a dog walker in a residential area near the Hollywood reservoir on Friday.
Nine-year-old Piper, a blue merle-Chihuahua mix, was fatally mauled.
The cougar was captured on a video surveillance camera as he stalked and pounced.
“I felt the tug and I heard Piper squeal,” the man who was walking the dog told KTLA-TV. “It was like a two- or three-second struggle. He had Piper in his mouth. He didn’t growl. I didn’t even hear him. I never had a chance” to save the dog.
Piper’s owner, Daniel Jimenez, told KTLA that he was devastated at the loss of the Chihuahua, whom he and his wife adopted in 2014. “She was just the sweetest dog,” he said.
Local wildlife biologists suspect the cougar was 11-year-old “P-22,” who has made Griffith Park in the area his home. P-22 was captured in 2012 and fitted with a tracking collar. He’s often spotted on home security cameras.
Zara McDonald, a cougar biologist with the Bay Area Puma Project, told the Los Angeles Times that people have to be more aware that a mountain lion “doesn’t know boundaries ... or where it should or should not go.”
Dog walkers need to be particularly vigilant with small dogs from dusk to dawn, when mountain lions tend to hunt, she warned. “Small dogs look like the smaller prey” that they routinely catch in their habitat, and an attack on the pets “isn’t particularly surprising,” she said.