A Southern California woman desperate to save her dog from an attacking mountain lion on Thursday resorted to punching and scratching the big cat in an attempt to pry her pet from its jaws.
The miniature schnauzer, Pumbaa, didn’t survive. Its owner suffered a minor injury in her struggle to save him, police said.
“She obviously cared about her dog very much, as all dog owners do,” Sgt. Keith Eisenhour told NBC4. “She tried to fend the animal off by punching it, elbowing it and tried to pry its jaws open.”
According to the owner’s brother, identified only as Brian, Pumbaa had woken the woman at around 2 a.m. Thinking the dog needed to go to the bathroom, she opened the door to let him out and saw the mountain lion.
“She jumped on the mountain lion and tried to pry its jaws open to save her dog because she loves her dog so much,” he told NBC4.
Another police officer, Cmdr. Adam Darough, told the Ventura City Star that when they arrived, they found the big cat eating the dog in the yard before it fled into nearby hills.
The attack happened around 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles in the Indian Hills neighborhood. Simi Valley police responded to two separate incidents of mountain lion sightings that night. Another dog, a Havanese, was also attacked earlier in the night, but survived and was taken to an area hospital for treatment, according to ABC7. There had also been reports of a mountain lion sighting just before noon on Wednesday, which drew a police search via helicopter and animal control officers.
Police issued a public safety alert saying that there had been multiple reports of a mountain lion, advising residents to “please make sure your animals are indoors.”
Ana Beatriz Cholo, a spokeswoman for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, told the Ventura City Star that attacks on pets such as the ones reported were very rare.