Mountain lion spotted in Los Lunas subdivision

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A Los Lunas resident says she won't be walking her dog anytime soon after she came across a mountain lion Tuesday night during her evening routine.

LaDonna Giron had just started her walk with her toy poodle about 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Huning Ranch subdivision when, she says, her dog, all of a sudden, stops in its tracks.

"She just stops walking," Giron says. "I didn't think too much about it because it happens all the time. Even though it was the beginning of her walk, I thought her feet were just hurting, so I picked her up."

Giron, who was near the corner of Sundance and East Huning Ranch, began hearing noises in some bushes next to the road. At first, she thought it was birds fighting, but when she took a closer look, she saw "a big animal jumping from the bushes."

"It was actually off to my left side, within three feet of me," Giron said. "It didn't cross my path, but it took off in the opposite direction — to the east."

At first, Giron said, she thought it might have been a large dog, but she noticed its long tail and big paws. She knew it was a mountain lion.

In shock, Giron "booked it" down the street and flagged down a mini van to get a ride back to her house, which was about three blocks away. On the way home, she saw her neighbors outside with their children and dogs.

"I asked them to drop me off and I told my neighbors what happened and to get inside," Giron said. "I called police from their house."

It was at that time when Los Lunas Police Lt. Naithan Gurule, who was off duty at the time, pulled up. He was dropping off his children at his in-law's home, Giron's neighbors.

He said after Giron told him what happened, he gave her a ride home.

"The officers, along with our Open Space officer, searched the area for the mountain lion," Gurule said. "Open Space (officers) were out their until 11 o'clock looking, but they didn't find anything."

According to Gurule, the police department didn't receive any other reports about a mountain lion in the area, but they did inform Los Lunas Schools police of the sighting because of the first day of school at Sundance Elementary on Wednesday.

Gurule did say they called New Mexico Game and Fish Tuesday night to alert them of the situation, but he said no one came out.

"I was shocked," Giron said of the incident. "Once it registered what it was, all I wanted to do was to get into that van — I didn't care if it was some weirdo, but thankfully, it was a nice couple. Pretty much everything after that was a blur."

Both Gurule, who also lives in the subdivision, and Giron say they occasionally see jack rabbits and other small wildlife in the area, but never anything this big or dangerous.

After coming face-to-face with a mountain lion, Giron said it will be a while before she walks her dog in the neighborhood.

"We can't let it paralyze us from enjoying our neighborhood," she said. "But for right now, I think I'll be staying home."

Calls to New Mexico Game and Fish weren't returned before News-Bulletin's press time.


-- Email the author at cgarcia@news-bulletin.com.