Video captures mountain lion in backyard of Tarzana home

TARZANA, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Parvin Atabay's home security system captured something she's never seen in the 20 years she's lived in the Mulholland Park community of Tarzana: a mountain lion walking through her backyard, and in no hurry to leave.

Video captured the incident Monday at about 11 p.m. The mountain lion is seen outside the home and stayed until almost midnight.

"He wouldn't leave the backyard," Atabay said.

Wildlife experts say the sighting shouldn't surprise anyone.

"Much of Southern California is considered mountain lion country, so it's not unusual to have a mountain lion occasionally pass through a back yard, especially if that backyard is really close to large open space," said Kate Kuykendall of the National Park Service.

Not far away in Tarzana on Romero and Valdez drives, a beloved family pet disappeared Sunday night.

Fifteen-year-old Shayna was a service dog. Her owners, who spoke to Eyewitness News by phone, said they were out Sunday night and when they returned, Shayna was gone.

The owners shared what happened with their neighbor.

"He is a retired doctor, and he said he found things that looked like organ parts and they assumed that was what happened to the dog," neighbor Jay Shucard said.

Residents say coyotes are common in the area, but the yard Shayna had access to through a "doggie door" is surrounded by a six foot tall wood fence, leading some to wonder whether this mountain lion was behind Shayna's death.

Wildlife experts say the mountain lion in the video is being tracked by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, but because the tracking isn't in real time, they can't pinpoint its location.

"If a mountain lion was behaving abnormally or for some other reason doing something that became a safety concern, then you can call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and report your concern," Kuykendall said.

Shayna's owners, however, wish something could be done to stop the random killing of family pets.

"Its disturbing to have somebody who's had a dog for 20 years and all of a sudden not be able to find him or find what's left of it," Shucard said. "Can't be pleasant."
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