SILVER LAKE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A mountain lion believed to be the famous P-22 attacked and injured a small dog in Silver Lake until he was scared off by the pet's owner.
Rene Astorga said he was taking his Chihuahua named Taz for a walk late Friday night. They were only 15-20 feet from his front door when from the corner of his eye he spied an animal coming toward them, which he at first mistook for a large dog.
The animal latched on to his dog's neck.
"I thought it was a dog - and it was a huge mountain lion. I saw the collar. At that point it was a fight-or-flight instinct. I started punching or kicking - never let go of the leash until finally I felt he was loose. I picked up my dog and ran inside the house."
He says he was later told by the National Park Service that the attacking lion was indeed P-22.
Taz had to get multiple stitches for cuts and lacerations to his neck and throughout his body - about 14 in total.
But Astorga was grateful when a veterinarian said the injured Taz would survive and recover.
"My dog's a fighter. The vet told us he was gonna pull through. That's when we were able to process everything and let it soak in what exactly happened. It was an adrenaline rush, up until we found out he was gonna be fine."
A GoFundMe has been started to help the family with Taz's veterinarian bills.
Valerie Castaneda was inside the couple's home and shocked to hear Rene yelling and then return to the house with blood all over his white shirt and their dog crying.
"He's my hero," she said. "He saved our little puppy and fought P-22 and won."
The couple say they never imagined a mountain lion would be a concern on their street. But now they are going to take some precautions moving forward and want to make sure their neighbors do as well. They'll make more noise when they go out to ward off animals, and just be more aware of their surroundings, they say.
P-22 is one of the most well-known mountain lions in Los Angeles and is often spotted roaming neighborhoods and yards around Griffith Park and in the Hollywood Hills.
Earlier this week another homeowner reported a close encounter with P-22.
A few weeks ago wildlife experts confirmed that P-22 attacked and killed a Chihuahua on a leash near the Hollywood reservoir.
But they say these types of attacks are rare. P-22 typically hunts deer and coyotes, and recently killed a large buck in Griffith Park.
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