POWAY, Calif. -- A family who found their dogs partially eaten by a mountain lion in their fenced backyard is warning other pet owners to beware.
The family dogs, a miniature pincher and Chihuahua, were found dead on Friday, March 18, in the backyard of a home on Standish Drive in Poway. Pet owner Alex Chase told FOX 5 the mountain lion jumped a 6-foot-tall backyard fence before fatally mauling their dogs.
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"Quite horrific - there were no insides to one of my dogs and the other was bit on the neck and (it) broke the neck," said Chase.
California Department Fish and Wildlife officials say the area is surrounded by hundreds of miles of mountain lion habitat and a water supply.
"They’re large, smart cats and they know how to hunt," said Chase. "I want to warn everyone and let them know to keep their dogs inside at night and beware."
The principal of nearby Garden Road Elementary School sent an email to parents about the attacks.
"This morning I received information about a mountain lion in the area around Standish Road in Poway. Before alerting our families, I contacted the warden from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. I learned that on Friday, a large cat, most likely a mountain lion, killed two dogs and attacked another in backyards of homes near Standish (Drive)."
Mountain lions are nocturnal animals and are protected by California law.