Another possible mountain lion attack has led to the death of a pet in California.
San Diego’s FOX 5 is reporting a Vista man believes his 80-pound pit bull/Labrador mix was attacked and killed in his own backyard by a mountain lion.
Drew Williams said he led his dog, Ninja, out around 8 a.m., but his dog never returned.
“My neighbor found him basically mortally wounded. He was still alive,” Williams said. “He was attacked by something large — most likely by a mountain lion.”
Suspicions of a mountain lion being the attacker stemmed from Williams’ neighbors seeing what they believed to be a mountain lion hopping a nearby fence just two weeks prior to the attack. The neighbors said the predating cat was around 80 pounds.
“There have been multiple sightings throughout the whole valley here,” Williams said.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife estimate between 4,000-6,000 mountain lions statewide. Despite stories of the predator attacking and killing household pets being common, the CDFW made mountain lions a “specially protected species” in 1990, making hunting them illegal.
The only way a mountain lion can be legally killed is if it’s deemed a public safety threat, which happens if there is “a likelihood of human injury based on the totality of the circumstances.” If deemed a public safety threat, a mountain lion will be killed by CDFW or law enforcement personnel.
The CDFW reports attacks on pets becoming increasingly common “as more people move into mountain lion habitats.” The organization received hundreds of reports of pets and livestock being killed annually.