Campus Homeowner Dog Attack Update

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Last Friday, February 4, a resident of the University’s on-campus faculty/staff condos on Baxter Drive reported his family dog was attacked and taken from his backyard in the middle of the night by an animal predator believed to be a mountain lion. The University immediately notified the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the National Parks Service, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Later that day, CDFW arrived on campus to begin an investigation. 

Pepperdine Public Safety officers located the remains of the dog yesterday afternoon, and this morning, CDFW officials returned to campus, confirming the dog was taken and killed by a mountain lion. The pet’s remains have been removed, and CDFW indicates the mountain lion has likely moved on. Mountain lion sightings have become common on the Malibu campus, and while mountain lion attacks on domestic pets occur in the surrounding area, they are exceedingly rare on campus. 

The University communicated the incident to the Malibu campus community for awareness and to encourage vigilance, in particular with pets and small children. Public Safety has also instituted additional patrols in the area, which remain in effect. Despite increased mountain lion sightings in recent years, CDFW scientists continue to affirm they do not perceive the mountain lion behavior as a threat to human activity on campus. Nevertheless, the University continues to pursue action in furtherance of public safety, including multiple discussions, correspondence, and meetings with CDFW.

Additionally, CDFW will host two educational sessions on mountain lions and will be available to answer questions from members of the community. They will conduct a session for students and employees and will hold another session for campus homeowners on February 23, 2022. Timing and details on these sessions are forthcoming.

If you have any questions about mountain lion safety, contact the Department of Public Safety at 310.506.4700 or via email at dispatch@pepperdine.edu

As always, please be mindful of the following guidelines for mountain lion safety:

  • Do not hike, bike, or jog alone, especially from dusk until dawn when mountain lions are most active.
  • Do not feed the local deer population, which are known prey for mountain lions and may invite their presence.
  • Public Safety security escorts are available on the Malibu campus 24/7 by calling Public Safety Dispatch at 310.506.4442.
  • If you see a mountain lion on or near the Malibu campus, please report the incident to Public Safety at 310.506.4441.
    • If safe to do so, please take a picture and/or video and send it to Public Safety via the LiveSafe app.

As a reminder, if you encounter a mountain lion:

  • Respect the animal.
  • Maintain eye contact and move away slowly.
  • Do NOT run. Running will trigger the mountain lion’s instinct to chase you.
  • Appear as large, loud, and powerful as possible.
  • If there are small children or pets present, pick them up immediately. Additionally, do NOT leave them unattended outside.
  • Do not approach the mountain lion; leave space for the cat to escape.
  • In the unlikely event of an attack, fight back. Do not fall to the ground or roll into the fetal position.