The mountain lion seen prowling the streets of Turlock that officials believed had left the area, may be back and may be responsible for an attack on a resident’s dog.
The Turlock Police Department received an unconfirmed mountain lion sighting early Friday in the area of Tuolumne Road and Olive Avenue that reportedly clawed a dog.
Norman Esakhani, who lives on Tuolumne Road, believes his pit bull dog Zaida had a skirmish with the mountain lion around 12:30 a.m. Friday that left the dog with a gash across its head.
“I had come home from work and was opening the garage door,” Esakhani said. “Usually both dogs come running out to see me, but this time it was just the male. About that time I heard a noise coming from the back. It sounded like a vicious fight was going on.”
Esakhani was running toward the back when he heard his dog yelp and then saw her running to him.
“She had a deep gash. I just knew it was something big,” Esakhani said.
Esakhani believes the mountain lion might have been after the chickens he keeps and that his dog just happened to go outside when it was around.
The dog is not the first animal Esakhani owns that might have fallen victim to the mountain lion.
“I had a big bunny that was attacked,” Esakhani said. “One day I found half of it in my yard and another part in my neighbor’s yard.”
Esakhani also has had some birds go missing recently.
Police checked Esakhani’s yard but could find no tracks.
“I hope they don’t shoot it,” Esakhani said. “I hope they can relocate it somewhere else. It’s not the mountain lion’s fault. It’s just looking for food."
A mountain lion was spotted in Turlock on Sunday. The mountain lion was first spotted around 6 p.m. Sunday by residents in the area of Anning Drive and N. Johnson Road. Several Turlock Police officers responded to the area and confirmed seeing the mountain lion, which was estimated at about 90 pounds.
The last confirmed spotting of the mountain lion was around 11:30 p.m. Sunday when the animal was seen by California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials in the area of Palmer and Simon drives.
Since that time there have been several unconfirmed sightings of the mountain lion, but officials suspected it had moved on from the area.
“I know it was something big that attacked my dog,” Esakhani said. “I can see it in her eyes and how skittish she is now.”