Tue08192014

News

Dog traps mountain lion in LAH tree

Dogs can’t seem to shed their instinctual need to pursue cats. Even if the feline is actually a 120-pound mountain lion.

A Los Altos Hills resident’s 85-pound German Shepherd chased a mountain lion up a tree on the homeowner’s property near the corner of Elena and La Barranca roads early Feb. 21, according to the town’s public safety officer.

Officials from the state’s Department of Fish and Game and Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived on the scene, but the cat posed no danger and eventually fled.

No one – human, canine or feline – was injured.

“The Department of Fish and Game looked at the (mountain lion), said it looks healthy, didn’t look peculiar, nothing out of the ordinary,” said Lt. Don Morrissey of the county sheriff’s office.

The homeowner, Larry Del Carlo, captured the aftermath of the incident on film, which can be viewed on NBC Bay Area’s website at tinyurl.com/7fza8zm.

Janet Shannon, Los Altos Hills public safety officer, said recent sightings and incidents, including an early February episode in which a suspected mountain lion killed two pet goats overnight on a private residence near Hidden Villa, have made people “a bit nervous” and have led to an uptick in reported sightings.

The goat incident has not been confirmed as a mountain lion attack.

“People get worked up,” Shannon said. “I don’t think there are necessarily more (mountain lions) around. … The bad thing is if people get worked up about it, somebody will take action. … Mountain lions are doing exactly what they do – they’re not aggressive, they’re not coming after anybody.”

Charlie Knowles, a Los Altos Hills resident and founder of the Wildlife Conservation Network, urged co-existence with the critters in town.

“We live in an area with wild predators, including mountain lions,” he said. “There is no indication that any of them pose any threat to humans, but domestic animals are vulnerable to all types of predators, particularly if they are left outside in unsecured enclosures over night.”

– Elliott Burr

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