Police say a California woman acted quickly to save her dog from the jaws of a mountain lion on Wednesday night. The dog's owners heard a noise in their yard in Woodside just before 10pm while their dog was outside. "When they looked out the window, they saw a mountain lion had the dog by the neck," the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said in a statement, per SFGate. One of the owners jumped into her car and drove it onto the lawn to scare off the animal. She honked her horn as she drove, per Bay City News. The dog—KTVU describes it as an Australian Shepherd—was taken to a vet and is expected to make a full recovery. But police are warning residents to be on guard. They had not located the cougar as of Thursday afternoon.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife advises residents not to leave their pets outside when mountain lions are most active—at dusk, dawn, and at night—and to bring pet food inside to avoid attracting wildlife that mountain lions like to prey on. Some 4,000 to 6,000 mountain lions inhabit California, according to the department, but "there have been only 16 verified mountain lion attacks on humans in California since 1890," with the last coming in Santa Clara County in September 2014. Cougars mainly prey on wildlife but vulnerable pets fill their bellies, too. In this case, the dog was surrounded by a six-foot-tall fence. But one resident isn't faulting the cougar. "The whole point of living around here is to be rural, around nature, and nature includes mountain lions," he tells KTVU. (Read more mountain lion stories.)