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Mountain lion spotted on camera in Sun Valley; residents on alert

People in several Southern California communities are on alert after possible mountain lion attacks on three dogs.
January 4, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
People in several Southern California communities are on alert after possible mountain lion attacks on at least three dogs.

Saro Tomasian captured a mountain lion on camera around 3:30 a.m. Friday as it walked across the front yard of his Sun Valley home in Verdugo Hills.

"First reaction was wow, it's a very big cat, palms are huge, and he weighed about 110-120 pounds," Tomasian said.

The animal can be seen crouching down and slowly moving in as it approaches where Rocky, Tomasian's Boxer, was sleeping. The dog hasn't been seen since.

There were no signs of a struggle, only large paw prints in the backyard. Officials say there's a chance Rocky got scared and ran away. But given the video, Tomasian fears the worst.

"The family is devastated, like I said, we're still looking for closure, what the option was and where he is," he said.

That same night, just hours earlier and a few miles away in Burbank, Tom Lawrence's two dogs, both Rhodesian Ridgebacks, had a violent encounter with a mountain lion, most likely the same animal.

"I was woken up with my dogs fighting with a mountain lion, came out, saw the lion on the hill, and he ran away. My dogs were a little bit scraped up and scratched, but they were fine," said Lawrence.

The owners of Bubba, an 11-year-old Labrador Retreiver, weren't so lucky. They say two days after Christmas, a mountain lion attacked and killed the lab in their Glendale backyard, dragging him up into the hills.

The Friday spotting has prompted Burbank police to warn residents not to leave small children or pets outside unattended. Also, don't hike, bike or jog alone at night, dawn or dusk.

The public should also trim brush to reduce hiding places for cougars and to bring pet food inside to avoid attracting ready-to-eat raccoons, opossums and other prey.

Last week, a mountain lion is believed to have killed a Labrador retriever in a Glendale backyard. If you see a mountain lion in your neighborhood, call 911 right away.


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