A mountain lion holding a dog by the neck on a San Francisco Bay Area lawn dropped the terrified pet after the homeowner climbed in her car and began honking.
Residents of a home in Woodside, on the San Francisco Peninsula, heard a “commotion” about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
“When they looked out the window, they saw a mountain lion had the dog” — a 50-pound Australian shepherd — “by the neck,” the San Mateo Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
The woman raced to her car and drove onto the lawn honking her horn. The big cat dropped the dog and fled.
The dog is expected to make a full recovery. No one else was injured.
The mountain lion had to scale a 6-foot fence to get to the dog.
Officials had not located the mountain lion by Friday.
Det. Rosemerry Blankswade, the public information officer for the sheriff’s office, told Bay City News that wildlife experts believe the frightening encounter was an isolated incident. But officials are continuing to monitor the situation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Fish and Wildlife notes on its website that people are more than 1,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a mountain lion. But officials also note that when sharing a region with the big cats, homeowners should trim dense vegetation where mountain lions can hide and deer-proof their property to avoid drawing animals seeking prey.
Mountain lion sightings aren’t unusual in the San Francisco Bay Area. Wildlife officials estimate 4,000 to 6,000 mountain lions live in California.
The animals mainly prey on deer and other wildlife, but they will also feed on vulnerable and accessible pets and livestock.