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Mountain Lion Kills 75-Pound Dog on Porch in Fillmore

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ventura County authorities were searching Monday for a mountain lion that killed a Fillmore man’s 75-pound Siberian husky and may have taken nine calves from a neighbor’s herd.

Paul Glen Neuman said he awoke at 1 a.m. Monday to find the “enormous” mountain lion crouched on his front porch, teeth sunk into the neck of his dog, Brittany.

Neuman, a 44-year-old screenwriter, said he screamed and the lion leaped over the porch rail, vanishing into the shadows of a nearby orange grove, the dog’s limp body still in its jaws.

“It was just absolutely enormous--its head was the size of a medium pizza,” Neuman said. “If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it. Our dog was a heavy dog, and this cat just . . . jumped off the porch with it.”

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Monday afternoon, game wardens followed broad paw prints and a trail of blood between the trees, looking for the body of the 3-year-old husky.

But the trail disappeared into bamboo thickets lining the nearby Santa Clara River, and wardens were unable to find the mountain lion or its prey, state Fish and Game Warden Holly Etheridge said.

Wildlife officials were considering whether to ignore the lion, issue hunting permits to farmers whose livestock is threatened or track down the animal themselves, she said.

Neuman said that several neighbors reported spotting the lion, and cattle rancher Yulan Miller said he suspects the big cat has killed nine of his calves in two months.

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“He’s eating my bread and milk,” Miller said.

The dog’s death was the latest in a recent string of mountain lion encounters reported around Southern California.

In December, Fish and Game wardens tracked and killed a mountain lion that killed a San Diego hiker. In September, two Moorpark horseback riders reported that they were stalked by a pair of mountain lions near Happy Camp. In May, horses survived two lion attacks in Agoura.

Last April, a mountain lion killed a jogger near Sacramento.

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The state’s mountain lion population has boomed since 1990, when voters passed Proposition 117 to outlaw killing the animals, Etheridge said.

“They’re breeding,” she said. “And with more people in the state, they’re running out of habitat and they’re getting closer to people.”

Neuman said he was roused from sleep early Monday by a loud thump and ferocious barking coming from the tiny porch of his home, which is surrounded by orange groves.


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