Atlas Obscura is organizing trips! Join us on an adventure »
Today Only: 50% off Atlas Obscura books and calendars at Barnes & Noble »

Suspect ‘Paw Prints’ Found After Dog Disappears From California Bedroom

It was probably a mountain lion.

A mountain lion, also known as a cougar, at the Cincinnati Zoo.
A mountain lion, also known as a cougar, at the Cincinnati Zoo. Greg Hume/CC BY-SA 3.0

Around 3 a.m. the morning of Monday, April 17, Vickie Fought, the owner of a 15-pound Portuguese Podengo named Lenore, woke to hear her dog barking aggressively. Fought looked over to where the dog had been sleeping, at the foot of her bed, and saw what she initially thought was a larger dog. It was, she later told NBC Bay Area, a mountain lion. 

Lenore, meanwhile, had gone silent. Fought said she saw the big cat exit through some French doors. Lenore was nowhere to be found. “It’s hard to fathom,” Fought told the station, adding that she ordinarily left the doors open for the dog, but never expected wildlife to use them. “It’s beyond what we thought.”

Authorities later arrived at the home, in Pescadero, California, west of San Jose, and noted the presence of “paw prints” similar to those left by mountain lions, according to a press release from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department

The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife has been notified, but so far no mountain lion has been identified in connection with the incident. The sheriff’s department has urged residents to be safe in the future. “As a reminder,” they wrote in the release, “lock and secure your home’s doors and windows.”