SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (KTLA) -- A Simi Valley neighborhood is on high alert Thursday after a pair of mountain lion attacks left one dog dead – despite its owner's efforts to fight the big cat off – and a second canine injured.
According to FOX40's sister station KTLA, officers responded to two calls overnight reporting puma sightings in the 5400 and 5500 blocks of Evening Sky Drive, Simi Valley Police Department Sgt. Keith Eisenhour said.
Around 2 a.m., a woman was letting her 10-year-old miniature schnauzer named Pumbaa out of her home when she spotted the big cat in her backyard. The small dog ran straight toward the large animal, which attacked.
The woman tried desperately to save her pet, according to her brother, who identified himself only as Brian D.
“She jumped on top of the mountain lion and she tried to pry the mountain lion’s jaws open to save her dog,” he said.
Despite her efforts, the cougar was not deterred.
“She heard her baby die is what she told me,” Brian recalled. “She loved this dog like a child.”
The owner called police while the mountain lion was still in her yard.
Officers notified the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that the mountain lion was still in the backyard of the home when they arrived. Fish and Wildlife officials wanted to scare the mountain lion by striking it with a less-than-lethal beanbag shot, but it ran away before that could happen, Eisenhour said.
Hours before, the same mountain lion was believed to have attacked another dog, an 8-year-old Havanese named Sammy, while she was out for a walk on Evening Sky Drive. The dog was taken to a local animal hospital for treatment.
Sammy’s owner, Michael Cheng, is concerned the puma will come back.
“I certainly hope that the Animal Control could somehow set a trap to capture the mountain lion, because it’s putting everyone in danger here,” he told KTLA.
A mountain lion was spotted earlier Wednesday in the area of Pawnee Court and Seneca Place, less than a mile away from the two attacks.
Simi Valley police, Ventura County Animal Control officers, and a Ventura County sheriff’s helicopter searched the neighborhood and surrounding area but found nothing. The animal was thought to have gone back into the nearby hillsides north of the neighborhood, officials said.
Amid the rash of sightings, some residents said they were taking precautions, like walking their dogs in areas away from the sightings.
Residents have been advised to keep dogs and other small animals inside as much as possible and to be extremely careful when exiting their homes.
Adding to the anxiety is that officials can’t pinpoint the big cat’s exact locations. The animal is believed to have been radio-collared, but the GPS is no longer transmitting.
“We don’t know where the mountain lion is at this point,” Eisenhour said.
Though it had a collar, the cougar was not currently being tracked in the long-term study of mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains, the Ventura County Star Reported.
The cat may be P-35, a nearly 10-year-old female known to inhabit the Santa Susana Mountains, according to Ana Beatriz Cholo, a spokeswoman for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. P-35 was one of the handful of mountain lions being studied in that area before her collar stopped working.
P-35's whereabouts are unknown, but there's no evidence the Simi Valley mountain lion is her, Cholo said.