Family dog Rocky is recovering Wednesday after fearlessly chasing a mountain lion out of his owners’ La Verne backyard last week.
Just before 8 p.m. Friday, Mary Padres was in her yard when she spotted a mountain lion staring back at her.
“He was literally right here looking at me and I got freaked out and started screaming,” Padres said. “It was humongous. It was huge. It was very, very scary.”
Security video captured the moment she started shouting and her family came out to see what was going on.
That’s when one of the family’s two dogs, a 7-year-old pitbull mix rescue, leaped into action, charging at the big cat and chasing it off the property.
Padres’ teenage daughters, Verena and Ashley, said they began to panic and were terrified because they didn’t know what was going to happen.
“We were very terrified that he wouldn’t come back,” Padres said.
The dog went all the way up the hillside as the mountain lion disappeared into the night. The family was frantic, calling for Rocky in the darkness and then going to look for him, fearing the worst.
They then found Rocky bleeding, badly injured and with a head wound so deep “you can see all the way down and it looked like you can see his brain or his skull,” according to Padres.
Padres said he needed around 30 stitches and had injuries all over his body. But luckily, he survived.
“Rocky was … protecting us,” she said. “[He’s] absolutely a fighter. He owns up to his name for sure.”
The family started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for medical expenses.
The La Verne Police Department and the Inland Valley Humane Society are investigating the incident, and remind residents to remain alert while in areas where wildlife reside.
“It is not typical for California Department of Fish and Wildlife to receive reports of mountain lions attacking dogs,” the agency said in a news release. “It does occur occasionally when dogs are left outdoors/unprotected at night. If a dog is aggressive toward a mountain lion, it is normal and expected behavior for the mountain lion to defend itself.”
Residents should always take precautions such as bringing pets and their food indoors, particularly at night when mountain lions actively hunt, the department said.