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Mountain lion kills dog in La Crescenta; more sightings reported

La Crescenta residents are on edge after a mountain lion reportedly killed a dog in a home’s backyard, prompting wildlife officials to host a public meeting this week on how to avoid the large cats.

A series of mountain lion sightings have been reported since Kim and Paul Mattersteig’s 14-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Bridgett, was killed in the early morning hours of Nov. 23.

After the Mattersteigs discovered that Bridgett had been killed, officials confirmed that the attacking animal was a mountain lion, based on paw prints left behind.

Six days later, a mountain lion returned to the same backyard about 8:30 p.m., the Glendale News-Press reported.

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When daughter Sherice Mattersteig opened the sliding glass door, the mountain lion was startled and ran into a nearby easement, the newspaper said.

“It was staring back at us [from the easement],” she said.

Sherice said she closed the door, went upstairs and sounded an air horn to scare the animal away.

“It was horrifying,” she added.

On the same night that a state wildlife biologist was warning a group of about 50 La Crescenta area residents to keep pet food indoors and to refrain from feeding deer -- a main food source for the large cats -- surveillance video footage caught a mountain lion roaming in the backyard of John Pehar’s home.

Pehar said he first thought that the animal might be a coyote, but that its large, reflective eyes indicated a different predator.

“She didn’t hesitate, she just looked at me real quick, and then turned her head and took off,” he told KTLA-TV.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Marty Wall encouraged residents to install motion-sensor lights or put up electrified fencing to discourage wild animals from entering backyards.

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Residents can also install a motion-activated sprinkler system that sprays water at an angle when activated, scaring away stray animals, Wall said.

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kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

Twitter: @kellymcorrigan

Kelly Corrigan is a Times Community News staff writer.

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