A California woman tried to pry open a mountain lion's jaws when it attacked her miniature Schnauzer in her backyard

By Gabrielle Chung
December 09, 2019 08:31 PM

A dedicated dog owner fought tooth and nail to protect her dog during a wild mountain lion attack in her backyard.

The California woman in Simi Valley was letting her 10-year-old miniature Schnauzer named Pumbaa out to the yard to relieve himself early Thursday morning when a mountain lion attacked the pup, according to Simi Valley Police Department.

In response, the pet owner pounced on the wild animal and punched it in an attempt to pry her dog from its jaws, police said. Unfortunately, Pumbaa did not survive the attack.

“She obviously cared about her dog very much, as all dog owners do,” Sgt. Keith Eisenhour told NBC4. “She tried to fend the animal off by punching it, elbowing it and tried to pry its jaws open.”

When the mountain lion became aggressive toward the woman, she retreated back into her residence, according to authorities.

Simi Valley Police Department said officers found the big cat — who was wearing a tracking collar, a device are used by the National Park Service to study mountain lions in Southern California — lying in the yard and eating the dog when they arrived at the home.

A California Fish and Wildlife warden was called to the scene with the intention of using a bean-bag shotgun to encourage the mountain lion to leave the backyard, though the animal fled from the property prior to any bean-bag rounds being fired, police said.

Officers at the scene searched the surrounding area, but could not locate the mountain lion.

Pumbaa’s owner reportedly suffered a minor cut on her finger in the attack.

“She got a cut on her finger, and she kept trying to stop the mountain lion from killing the dog for all she could,” the woman’s brother told ABC7. “She said she was punching it and kneeing it in the head and trying to pry its jaws open, and it just wouldn’t let go. The whole time she could hear her baby dying.”

The deadly attack came just hours after Simi Valley officers responded to a report of a mountain lion attack on another pet in the same neighborhood. According to authorities, the wild animal attacked a dog walking with its owner around 9:53 p.m. Wednesday night.

The dog, identified by NBC4 as an 8-year-old Havanese named Sammy, was injured by the mountain lion and taken veterinarian for medical treatment.

A California Department of Fish and Wildlife game warden was also called to the scene, though authorities could not locate the mountain lion after a search in the area, according to police.

The Simi Valley Police Department has received three more reports of mountain lion sightings in the northeast region of the city since Pumbaa’s attack and is now advising residents to stay alert while outside and keep pets on leashes.

Authorities also caution residents to never approach a wild mountain lion and only fight back if the animal attacks.

“Do not turn your back. Face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms, or opening your jacket if wearing one; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up small children,” Simi Valley Police said in their statement. “Research on mountain lion attacks suggests that many potential victims have fought back successfully with rocks, sticks, garden tools, even an ink pen or bare hands. Try to stay on your feet. If knocked down, try to protect head and neck.”