Bubba

"Bubba" Hamada, an 11-year-old black Labrador retriever, was killed early Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, by what authorities believe was a mountain lion in the hills above Brand Boulevard in Glendale. (Courtesy of Lynnette Hamada / December 31, 2013)

When James and Lynnette Hamada of north Glendale found the lifeless body of their beloved 85-pound black Labrador retriever named Bubba in their hillside neighborhood, they feared that the culprit could be a mountain lion.

The attack apparently happened about 3 a.m. Friday, Dec. 27, on Rimcrest Drive, near Canonwood Drive, said Bubba's owners, James and Lynnette Hamada. They found Bubba on Saturday afternoon in a neighbor’s side yard with a dead rabbit lying on their dog’s lifeless body.

"We found that Animal Control did dispatch (an investigator) from Pasadena because the resident found a dead dog alongside a house on Rimcrest. They also found a dead rabbit on top of the carcass," Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

Animal control could not confirm that the dog or rabbit were killed by a mountain lion, but based on information residents provided there is a strong likelihood that a mountain lion killed the animals, Lorenz said.

"We’ve had 150-pound deer preyed on by mountain lions," Lorenz said.

The Hamadas contacted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on Monday.

"We heard from (the Department of) Fish and Wildlife. They took an account and will have a biologist call and come over," Lynnette Hamada said.

"They’re on this right now... It had to be large enough, probably a mountain lion. Animal Control said it could be anything. But it had to be strong enough to lift our dog over a stucco wall," Hamada said.

Officials warned that there are dangers inherent with living in the hillsides and urged people to keep their pets indoors at night to minimize attacks from wildlife.

"I want people to know that whether it’s a sighting or possible sighting to please contact us at the Glendale Police Department. You can also go to our homepage at www.ci.glendale.ca.us and use our wildlife tracking mapping system," Lorenz said.

Lynnette Hamada said everyone should be cautious and aware of their surroundings.

“Even adults who are walking around our bushy areas, especially at night or early in the morning. A mountain lion could jump out at you,” she said. “I don’t want my dog killed in vain. Just so people have awareness, they might not want to keep their pets out at night. Our dog stayed outside for 11 years. It’s my hope that this doesn’t happen to anyone else’s pet or family member.”

It's not unusual to see mountain lions capture heavy prey, said Andrew Hughan, public information officer for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"It’s kind of sad but I’ve seen 100-pound deer dragged up a tree. Mountain lions are unbelievably strong, stealthy predators," he said.

"What people can do in this case, is don’t let your pets wander around outside. People have an inherent responsibility to keep track of their pets. If you leave them out or leave out dog food, you’re giving them an easy target," Hughan said.

Hughan suggests reducing food sources, such as dog food, and staying with your pet and turning lights on to keep mountain lions away.

"There are lions who could end up in your backyard. Lions are afraid of people. Ninety-nine times out of 100, they’ll run away. They fear what they do not know," Hughan said.

Ricky Whitman, vice president of community relations for the Pasadena Humane Society, said living close to nature is a double-edged sword.

"My goodness, depending on where you live, we are in the foothills. Part of the joy of living there is the proximity to wildlife, but tragic things can happen," Whitman said.

"There are mountain lions. We see bobcats, but they’re very wild. What you can do is keep your animals inside at night. Walk them on a leash. Be aware of your surroundings. Unfortunately, you have to be on the alert or things might go wrong," Whitman said.

The city released these tips online to help those who live near wildlife:

  • Deer-proof your landscaping by avoiding plants that deer like to eat.

  • Trim your bushes to reduce hiding places.

  • Don’t leave children or pets outside unattended.

  • Install motion-sensitive lighting around your house.

  • Don’t allow pets outside when animals are most active – at dawn, dusk and at night.

  • Bring pet food inside to avoid attracting raccoons, opossums and other potential prey.

  • Do not hike, bike or jog alone.

  • Do not approach mountain lions or coyotes.

  • If you encounter a mountain lion or coyote, do not run; instead face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms; throw rocks or other objects.

  • If attacked, fight back.

  • If you see a mountain lion, call Glendale police at 818-548-4911.

-- Tim Traeger, tim.traeger@latimes.com

Follow on Twitter: @TraegerTim.

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