LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles' famous mountain lion, P-22, is believed to be responsible for killing a leashed pet dog that was on a walk Friday night in the Hollywood Hills area, according to the National Park Service.
It happened around 6:30 p.m. Friday. Security video from a home off Creston and Durand drives shows a dog walker with two small dogs. They go off frame, and a mountain lion now confirmed to be P-22 comes out of the brush, crouching as it follows them.
"He literally grabbed one of the dogs, pulled him so hard that he pulled him off the leash, and ran off with the dog in its mouth," said Warren Jason, a Hollywood Hills resident who witnessed the attack.
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The other dog and the walker were not harmed. The dog that was killed was a Chihuahua mix named Piper. Piper's owner told FOX 11 that they rescued them in 2014.
They, and everyone else in the neighborhood, are familiar with P-22, the mountain lion that lives in the Hollywood Hills/Griffith Park area.
"He is always on my video feed," said one resident, who added she had never had any issues, but doesn't walk her dog at night because "coyotes are all around, so it's not a good idea."
The National Park Service said mountain lion attacks on humans are "exceedingly rare, although they do occur," adding that "there is no evidence that preying on pets is related to an increase chance of an attack on a person."
Officials said they are not aware of any previous attacks involving a mountain lion and a leashed pet in the Los Angeles area, but there have been two other studies - one in Colorado and the other in an unnamed part of Southern California - that documented such attacks.
"The drought means there are less rabbits and other wildlife in the area, so P-22 is looking for food," said one resident. "This is his home and we have to adapt."
P-22 was first documented by the Griffith Park Connectivity study in 2012. He has never been recorded killing any pets. A Koala from the Griffith Park Zoo was found mauled to death in 2016, and while P-22's collar showed he was in the area, he was never officially blamed for the animal's death.
Officials released the following safety tips:
- When outdoors, be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Walk pets on standard-length leashes, especially between dusk and dawn when predators are most active.
- If you do encounter a mountain lion while walking with a pet, keep pets close, make yourself as large as possible, make noise, and do not run.