A quiet Friday evening in the Hollywood Hills turned into tragedy for 9-year-old Piper, a blue merle/Chihuahua mix, as she strolled — leashed — behind her dog walker, only to be snatched and mauled to death by a mountain lion.
Video from early Friday evening in a residential area near the Hollywood Reservoir — near Creston and Durand drives — shows a large, collared cougar emerging from the brush, creeping along the road and then crouching as he sees the small walking party.
Seconds later, the recording shows the mountain lion pounce from behind and wrest Piper backward.
“I felt the tug and I heard Piper squeal,” the man who was walking the dog told KTLA-TV.
He did not want his name or face revealed.
“It was like a two- or three-second struggle,” he told the TV station. “He had Piper in his mouth. He didn’t growl at all. I didn’t even hear him. I never had a chance.”
No one has positively identified the mountain lion, however it is likely P-22, an 11-year-old cat who has made Griffith Park his home. Biologists trapped the puma in 2012, fastened on a lightweight radio tracking collar and gave him the name P-22.
The cougar is widely known in the area, periodically getting spotted on home security cameras or showing up in people’s driveways, like he did last month in Los Feliz.
Piper’s owner, Daniel Jimenez, told KTLA that he was devastated at Piper’s loss, whom he and his wife adopted in 2014.
“She was just the sweetest dog,” he told the news station.
He was informed of the incident via text, and initially thought it was a joke.
The text read: “The mountain lion attacked and took away your dog. Killed your dog,” he told KTLA. “Turned out it was real and we were just shocked.”
Whether the mountain lion was P-22 or not, “we need to be made more aware of the fact that a lion doesn’t know boundaries of safe or unsafe territory, or where it should or should not go,” said Zara McDonald, a cougar biologist executive director of the Bay Area Puma Project.
“Small dogs look like the smaller prey that they catch all the time in their habitat, and so this isn’t particularly surprising,” she said. She said dog walkers should be particularly vigilant when walking small dogs from dusk to dawn — when mountain lions tend to hunt.
“Same old story really but every year we are moving further away from balanced ecosystems and more to human altered systems… that puts lions at much greater risk of repercussions for not getting the memo, and for just being what they are naturally,” she said. “It’s important to get it right now with our pets so that we don’t bring pumas closer habitually and eventually a small human becomes prey.”