A Wrightwood family is warning others after a mountain lion attacked and injured their dog near their home a few weeks ago.
Rodolfo Salazar has lived in the area for almost 20 years and says it’s the first time he’s had such an encounter.
“It was probably 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning and the dogs going crazy,” he said. “So I grabbed my flashlight and happen to look to see what the dogs were barking at. There was a mountain lion. I was kind of in awe. “
The day after that sighting in late December, Salazar and his daughter, Jalissa Martinez, say they discovered their 13-year-old dog, Rosie, had been injured.
“It had sliced her skin and so she had a piece of flesh hanging,” Martinez said, adding that the dog could’ve lost her leg.
Rosie had emergency surgery for about eight hours and is now doing well.
“We’re grateful Rosie even made it through,” she said.
There’s plenty of wildlife in the San Gabriel Mountains, and Salazar and his family live on the northern end, near a wildlife habitat. But Salazar says, “It’s the first time I’ve seen a mountain lion that close to me. I’d say about 25, maybe 30 feet away. “
“Our backyard is national forest,” Martinez said. “That is an actual bear trail. So we’ve seen bears before, but mountain lions tend not to get very close.”
It was quite a scare for the family and they plan to keep their dogs inside at night from now on.
Neighbors in the area have shared stories of other such attacks in the area lately.
“I’d probably say there’s been about 20 animals that have been attacked just in Wrightwood in the past two or three months,” Martinez said.
Biologists with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife say sightings are not uncommon in the neighborhood.
“The department is aware of a few reports in the Wrightwood area,” said Thomas Batter of the department. “When we are dealing with behavior like this in a mountain community like Wrightwood, which is immediately adjacent to mountain lion habitat, it’s important that we have heightened awareness and vigilance.”
Batter urged resident to keep their pets on a leash and not to leave them unattended.
“You don’t know when these animals are going to be hungry and attack,” Salazar said
Martinez has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for Rosie’s $1,500 vet bill.