Mountain lion attacks pet dog on Pepperdine campus

Despite increased mountain lion sightings, California Department of Fish and Wildlife scientists say mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare

A family pet dog was attacked and killed by a mountain lion near Pepperdine University on Friday, Feb. 4. The incident was confirmed by the University.

Mountain lion sightings have become common on the Malibu campus, and while mountain lion attacks on domestic pets occur in the surrounding area, the City of Malibu said pet owners should take appropriate precautions to keep their pets safe.

“The community is reminded that mountain lions are a protected and crucial part of the ecosystem of the Santa Monica Mountains, together with bobcats, coyotes, hawks and other predators, they are solitary and elusive,” the City of Malibu statement reads.” Mountain lions primarily eat deer, but they will prey on vulnerable pets and livestock if presented with an easy opportunity.”

Despite increased mountain lion sightings in recent years, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife scientists say mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare. Their behavior is not perceived to be a threat to human activity on campus.

This is the second pet attack incident that has occurred within a week; on Friday, Feb. 4, a resident of the University’s on-campus faculty and staff condos on Baxter Drive reported his family dog was attacked and taken from his backyard in the middle of the night by an animal believed to be a mountain lion. The University immediately notified the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the National Parks Service, and CDFW began an investigation.

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Pepperdine officials share confirmed mountain lion sightings near the campus to ensure the community is informed but not alarmed. As always, please be mindful of the following guidelines for mountain lion safety:

“Do not hike, bike, or jog alone, especially from dusk until dawn when mountain lions are most active. Do not feed the local deer population, which are known prey for mountain lions and may invite their presence. As a reminder, if you encounter a mountain lion, respect the animal, maintain eye contact, and move away slowly. Do not run; running will trigger the mountain lion’s instinct to chase you. If there are small children or pets present, pick them up immediately. Additionally, do not leave them unattended outside. Do not approach the mountain lion; leave space for the cat to escape. In the unlikely event of an attack, fight back. Do not fall to the ground or roll into the fetal position.” 

If you see a mountain lion on or near the Malibu campus, please report the incident to Public Safety at (310)506.4441. Any picture and/or video can be sent to Public Safety via the LiveSafe app.

Public Safety security escorts are available on the Malibu campus 24/7 by calling Public Safety Dispatch at (310)506.4442. 

To learn more about mountain lion safety, visit wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild/Lion.

Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department. Twitter @samanthavbravo

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