Warnings issued after mountain lion kills Chihuahua

Authorities are canvassing a North Glendale neighborhood with warning notices after a mountain lion scaled a 6-foot backyard fence early Monday and killed a Chihuahua.

The mountain lion, described as being at least 150 pounds, hopped a gate at about 1 a.m. and pulled the 4-year-old Chihuahua out of its dog house while its owners looked on in horror.

“He didn’t even get a chance to bark. All we heard was whimper,” said Marco Iezza, whose courtyard in the 2300 block of Bonita Drive is bounded by several other properties, meaning the large cat had to scale several fences.

Iezza yelled and chased the mountain lion, but it was too late.

“The way he jumped that fence was amazing,” Iezza said.

The incident punctuated a series of recent mountain lion sightings in the neighborhood abutting the Verdugo Mountains, alarming even those residents who’ve grown accustomed to seeing wildlife roaming the streets.

“I’ve never heard of one this far down, never,” said Mirna Stanley, president of the Verdugo Woodlands West Homeowners Assn.

In addition to the Bonita Drive incident, mountain lion sightings were reported on Misty Isle Drive, Del Valle and Allen avenues, Beaudry Terrace and Beaudry Boulevard in Northwest Glendale, according to Glendale police.

The Pasadena Humane Society, which handles animal control issues for Glendale, planned to post warning notices throughout the neighborhood this week, spokeswoman Ricky Whitman said.

A mild summer has meant late breeding cycles for prey, such as rabbits and rodents, which has kept mountain lions active later in the year than usual, said California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Andrew Hughan.

Attacks on pets, while unfortunate, do not rise to the level of being an imminent threat to humans, which the mountain lions typically avoid, so local game wardens would not step in beyond occasional patrols, Hughan added.

“They’re just looking for food,” he said. “They can hop a fence and scoop up a dog and you wouldn’t know it.”

Officials repeated calls for residents to keep pet food indoors, keep garbage locked and contained and to clear undergrowth from brush and landscaping to discourage wildlife from entering urban areas.

If a mountain lion is encountered, officials advised residents not to run, but instead yell, throw objects and wave their hands. If attacked, fight back, they said.

Hughan also suggested keeping small pets inside when not being monitored.

Meanwhile, Iezza said he hoped his horror story would serve as cautionary tale to other residents.

“You always hear about coyotes and little dogs, but I never suspected a mountain lion,” he said.

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