Mountain lion attack of person, dog temporarily closes Solstice Canyon in Santa Monica Mountains

MALIBU CA February 17, 2015 -- As you climb along the Rising Sun Trailhead, you will see mountains ahead of you at Solstice Canyon in Malibu. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/ Los Angeles Times)
File photo of hikers walking along the Rising Sun Trailhead in Solstice Canyon in Malibu. A mountain lion injured a hiker and tried to attack a dog in the canyon, forcing a temporary closure. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Los Angeles Times)

Solstice Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains was temporarily closed this week after a mountain lion injured a person and tried to attack an unleashed dog, according to officials with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

On Tuesday, a person walking a small dog on a leash was injured when a mountain lion tried to attack the dog, officials wrote in a social media post. The person had a scratch and a puncture wound on their hand; National Park Service rangers gave medical aid at the scene. The dog wasn't hurt. A second mountain lion was also spotted in the area during the incident.

The park was closed until 8 a.m. Thursday while park wildlife biologists assessed the situation, according to officials.

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"Mountain lions are unpredictable, wild animals," officials wrote. "While conflicts with humans are rare, there is always a risk when you are recreating in areas used by mountain lions."

Experts recommend that if you encounter a mountain lion, make yourself as intimidating and large as possible by waving your arms, yelling and throwing objects toward the animal. Back away and allow space for the mountain lion to move away and don't turn around and run.

The last mountain lion attack was about a year ago when the famed cougar, P-22, killed a Chihuahua on its leash after stalking a dog walker in Hollywood Hills, according to the National Park Service. The mountain lion was euthanized because of severe injuries in December 2022.

Ana Cholo, a spokesperson for the National Park Service, said the recent attack was a "very unusual event" and that many residents who live and hike in the mountains have never seen a mountain lion.

"Most residents here understand they are living in mountain lion country," she said. "These animals have lived here longer than we have, so being aware of your surroundings and knowing what to do if you encounter one is key."

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.