Mountain lion attack on dog spurs response in La Crescenta

A bobcat was spotted walking toward the wash near Rosemont and Mayfield avenues in Montrose Wednesday morning, a day after officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife held a meeting informing La Crescenta residents how to avoid and handle potential encounters with wild cats, coyotes and bears.

By the time Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene on Wednesday, however, the cat was gone.

Tuesday’s public meeting — a joint project of wildlife officials and the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s station — was spurred by the death of a pet dog named Bridgett, who was killed in late November by a mountain lion in a La Crescenta backyard.

Kim and Paul Mattersteig were sleeping in their home in the 2400 block of Olive Avenue when their 14-year-old Jack terrier went into the backyard through a doggie door at about 1 a.m. Nov. 23.

The Mattersteigs believe the incident happened at that time, because a neighbor alerted them the next day that when she let out her own dog, it began barking near the wall the two neighbors share.

After the Mattersteigs discovered Bridgett had been killed, officials confirmed from paw prints they observed that the predator had been a mountain lion.

Six days later, a mountain lion returned to the Mattersteigs’ backyard, and it was seen by Paul Mattersteig and his daughter, Sherice, at about 8:30 p.m.

When the daughter went to open the sliding glass door, the mountain lion was startled and ran into a nearby easement.

“It was staring back at us (from the easement),” said Sherice Mattersteig, who was visiting her parents’ house at the time and planning to scan the backyard before letting out her parents’ Yorkshire terrier, Louie, and her two dogs.

Instead, she closed the sliding glass door, went upstairs and sounded an air horn to scare the animal away.

“It was horrifying,” she added.

Bridgett’s death resulted in Kim Mattersteig, who was on the Crescenta Valley Town Council in 2010, to organize Tuesday’s meeting, which was attended by roughly 50 residents.

At the meeting, Lt. Marty Wall and biologist Rebecca Barboza, both with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, suggested keeping all pet food indoors and not feeding wildlife such as deer, which are a main food source for mountain lions.

Additionally, Wall encouraged residents to install motion-sensor lights or put up electrified fencing.

They could also install a motion-activated sprinkler system that utilizes water in a small tank to spray water at an angle when it’s activated, scaring away any stray animals, Wall said.

For residents who have chicken coops, he suggested having them outfitted so they are bear-proof.

Should residents encounter a wild animal, officials recommend calling 911 immediately or perhaps even use a paint gun or slingshot to scare it off.

If ever threatened by coyotes, residents must do what they have to do, said Andrew Hughan, a department spokesman.

“We won’t ask any questions if you shoot a coyote,” he said.

But residents would need to answer to officials if they were to shoot other wild animals.

Kim Mattersteig’s next goal is to create a blog that local residents can use to report sightings of wild animals.

The city of Glendale provides residents with an online reporting tool for sightings of bears, bobcats, coyotes, deer and mountain lions, but its website does not cover a large portion of La Crescenta, particularly the area between Ocean View Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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