Mountain Lion Dragged California Woman's Pug as She Watched on in Horror

A mountain lion, also known as a cougar, dragged away a California woman's pet pug as she watched on in horror.

Alysha Periera, of San Luis Obispo, had been walking her dog named Cupcake near Laguna Lake when the mountain lion attacked, KSBY reported.

The animal dragged the dog away from her, and Periera was swept off her feet.

Composite Photo, Cougar and a Pug Dog
In this combination image, stock images of a cougar, also known as a mountain lion, and a pug puppy. A Californian woman's dog was carried off by the big cat, never to be seen again. iStock / Getty Images

Periera told KSBY: "It took her and took her down the creek. I could hear her yelling, yelling. She was yelling and yelling, and I couldn't do anything. It was so horrible."

The woman managed to get away from the lion and did not suffer any severe or life-threatening injuries—but her dog was nowhere to be seen, the news outlet reported.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) believes this lion may be the same one that has been sighted in the area a few times recently, KSBY reported.

There are an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 mountain lions in California. They can be found throughout the state, apart from the southeastern desert and the Central Valley.

San Luis Obispo, a city on California's Central Coast, is typical mountain-lion habitat, so it is not unexpected to see them in the area. The big cats' preferred prey is deer and small mammals, but they have been known to attack dogs on occasion.

In December, a border collie survived an attack by a mountain lion that entered its home in Sonoma County.

A California mountain lion known as P-22 was also recently captured after a spate of aggressive encounters. The animal was suspected of killing a koala bear at Los Angeles Zoo in 2016, but more recently, he killed two Chihuahuas.

At the beginning of February, a 5-year-old boy was attacked by a mountain lion while walking in a remote area of San Mateo County. Attacks on humans, however, are incredibly rare.

CDFW says that the recent attacks are not due to an increasing population.

A CDFW spokesperson told Newsweek: "Our population estimates suggest that overall mountain-lion populations are stable. The advent of technology (Ring doorbells, camera traps) has increased many people's awareness of mountain-lion presence. However, it's likely that mountain lions were always there but never noticed. They are a discreet, solitary animal. Monitoring of localized trends, data collection and analysis is ongoing."

Mountain lions are protected in California because they interact with hundreds of other species. The big cats play a direct role in balancing various habitats across the state and other parts of the U.S. They are considered important in maintaining ecosystems and controlling other animal populations such as deer.

"People who recreate outside should follow precautions to avoid mountain-lion encounters," CPDW said. This includes not hiking alone in mountain-lion habitats, and staying alert while on trails.

"Never approach a mountain lion. Give them an escape route," the spokesperson said. "Do not run. Stay calm. Do not turn your back. Face the animal, make noise, and try to look bigger."

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