A Lytle Creek woman says she fears for her family's safety after her 82-pound dog was snatched from its bed by a mountain lion in the middle of the night.
Kristine Miller said the mountain lion pounced on the dog as it slept on her back porch after 2 a.m. on Jan. 5. The big cat released the dog after dragging it down a 6-foot wall, breaking the bones in the dog's throat and detaching it from its skull in the process.
By the time Miller was able to get her dog to a veterinarian, it was too late.
Local news from across Southern California
"I had no choice but to have him put down," Miller said in an email to NBC4.
The incident marks the second sighting in San Bernardino County in recent days.
Twenty-five miles to the east, law enforcement officials were warning residents of a Highland neighborhood of an aggressive mountain lion believed to have attacked two pets and acted aggressively toward a home owner.
The tracks of a "large mountain lion" estimated to weigh 140 pounds were discovered over the weekend in the backyard of a home in the 6700 block of Grove Avenue, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. It was the same residence where the big cat attacked the pets.
Although the mountain lion fled north into a mountain, Department of Fish and Game officials said it was unlikely that the big cat was the same one to have made the attack in Lytle Creek days earlier.
"Mountain lions do have a wide range, but knowing where Highland is and Lytle Creek is, that's kind of a tough haul across the route that it would have to be going in," said Harry Morse, a Fish and Game spokesman. "The odds would be pretty high that it's not the same one."
Still, Miller said she worries because the big cat returned to the home in search for the dog on the same morning of the attack, and also the following morning.
"I am fearful that my 5 year old could be next," Miller said, adding that the girl is too scared to play outside her home.
Officials advise residents to be aware of their surroundings and report sightings to local law enforcement.