In Sage, California, a woman got the surprise of her life when she walked into her garage to see why her dogs were barking. She found a full-grown mountain lion was the object of their attention.
Ana Lee Spray, 23, says her three toy chihuahuas were barking so loudly that it woke her up Saturday morning. She couldn't figure out what was wrong, and got up to check on the dogs. When she saw the animals standing guard at the opening of the garage, Spray investigated further.
She ran into her daughter's bedroom, which has a window that looks into the garage, and quickly got the answer staring back at her.
The chihuahuas, which weigh about three pounds each, had cornered the mountain lion. She says the big cat appeared to be angry and began hissing at her and foaming at the mouth.
Spray quickly called 911 and then grabbed her video camera to record a few pictures of the cornered cougar.
The pint-sized puppies refused to back off, and kept barking for about 45 minutes until two Riverside County Sheriff's deputies arrived at Spray's home.
"When they saw the dogs they said, 'These little things?' When they saw the mountain lion their jaws dropped," Spray said. "They radioed, 'This is a full-size mountain lion and it is not happy to see us.'"
Officers with the Department of Fish and Game arrived at Spray's home a short time later and Spray called the dogs off.
Spray said the Fish and Game officers shot at the animal three times with a tranquilizer gun. The cat then ran, and the deputies and Fish and Game officers chased it.
Spray said she heard another shot, but wasn't sure if came from a tranquilizer gun or firearm.
Authorities confirm officers with the Department of Fish and Game were forced to shoot and kill the animal. They had hoped to return it to the wild.
Experts say the animal was likely looking for food and had its eye on the chihuahuas as a quick snack. It had likely never encountered a chihuahua before, or it would have known better.