A mountain lion tracked by the National Park Service is back in the spotlight after the service says it’s likely to blame for killing a leashed dog in California’s Hollywood Hills, reports say.
Security camera footage released by local outlet KTLA showed the mountain lion walking through a residential neighborhood and pouncing on a blue merle-Chihuahua mix named Piper. The attack happened Friday while a dog walker was on a stroll with the dog, the Los Angles Times reported.
Piper was one of two leashed dogs being walked by an unidentified dog walker, according to KTLA.
Daniel Jimenez, Piper’s owner, told the outlet he was out celebrating his daughter’s birthday on the night Piper was killed.
He recalled receiving a bizarre text from the dog walker that said a mountain lion “attacked and took away your dog”
“We thought it was a joke, but it turned out it was real and we were just shocked,” Jimenez told the outlet. “My wife and I got Piper in 2014. We rescued her and she was just the sweetest dog. We’re just devastated at the loss of our little dog.”
Although no one has positively identified the big cat, the National Park Service told CNN the animal that killed Piper was likely P-22, one of several mountain lions the National Park Service tracks with GPS collars.
The National Park Service could not immediately be reached by USA TODAY.
According to the National Park Service website, P-22 is an 11-year old male puma that weighs about 123 pounds. The mountain lion spends most of his time within Griffith Park, one of the largest municipal parks with urban wilderness areas in the United States located in the eastern Santa Monica Mountain range.
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The big cat’s presence was first documented in early 2012 by a camera trap set up by the Griffith Park Connectivity Study. Biologists trapped the puma in 2012, fastened on a lightweight radio tracking collar and named him P-22.
P-22 has made headlines across the country several times including once in 2014, when he developed a case of mange, which was successfully treated by researchers, according to the NPS.
In 2015, his presence under a home a Los Angeles neighborhood adjacent to Griffith Park, became a live news event as local officials tried to get him to leave. When the commotion died down, he left on his own in the early dark hours of the morning. And in 2016, he was suspected of killing a koala at the L.A. Zoo.
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.