The attack happened on November 9, according to KTLA. Security camera footage captured the mountain lion emerging from the bushes onto a residential street and pouncing on Piper, a chihuahua mix.
Piper was one of two dogs — both on leashes — being walked by an unnamed dog walker, according to KTLA. “I felt the tug and I heard Piper squeal,” the dogwalker told KTLA. “I turn around and I just saw a face. I didn’t know what it was.”
“It was like a two- or three-second struggle,” said the man. “He had Piper in his mouth. He didn’t growl at all. I didn’t even hear him. I never had a chance.”
The National Park Service told CNN in an email that, based on video footage and tracking data, the mountain lion that killed the chihuahua was P-22, one of several mountain lions that the agency tracks with GPS collars.
P-22 is an 11-year old male mountain lion weighing around 123 pounds, according to the National Park Service website. He spends most of his time within Griffith Park.
And this isn’t the first time P-22 has made headlines: The mountain lion was also suspected to have killed a koala at the Los Angeles Zoo in 2016, the agency said.
The park service told CNN they were not aware of any other incidents involving mountain lions attacking leashed pets in the Los Angeles area, although studies have identified similar incidents in other cities.
The agency noted that the attack occurred after sunset, when big cats are most active, and that mountain lions are “opportunistic hunters.” P-22 is still actively hunting deer, coyotes and other more typical mountain lion prey, they added.
“There is no evidence that preying on pets is related to an increased chance of an attack on a person, either in mountain lions, or in other urban carnivores such as coyotes,” the service said in an emailed statement to CNN. “Mountain lion attacks on humans are exceedingly rare, although they do occur.”
They advised pet owners to keep their pets inside and stay alert when outside. If you encounter a mountain lion while walking your pet, you should keep the pet close, make yourself large, make noises and not run, the park service said.
Daniel Jimenez, Piper’s owner, told KTLA he is “devastated” by the loss of his dog. “My wife and I got Piper in 2014,” said Jimenez. “We rescued her and she was just the sweetest dog.”
Jimenez told KTLA that he doesn’t blame the mountain lion, but wants other pet owners to use caution when walking their pets, especially after dark.
“I don’t want anything bad to happen to P-22,” he said. “I just want people to be safe out there so that nothing like this happens again.”
There are around 100 mountain lions, also called cougars, pumas, or catamounts, that make their home in the Santa Monica Mountains, according to the National Park Service. The big cats are threatened due to habitat fragmentation from roads and other developments, which lead to vehicle collisions and increased inbreeding as they are unable to move freely in and out of their area.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified KTLA as a CNN affiliate.
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