Mountain lion
A large population of mountain lions live in California USFWS Mountain-Prairie

A mountain lion sneaked into a California home, killing the family dog while it slept at the foot of its owners' bed.

Vickie Fought and daughter Catalina Peso, 12, were just feet away from much-loved pet Lenore when she was killed and taken into the mountains by a lion in the early hours of Monday (17 April), according to the family's testimony.

Fought said she was woken at around 3.30am when Lenore made noises toward something in the doorway that backs onto the Pescadero countryside from her bedroom.

She said the door had been left slightly ajar to allow air into the room.

"Lenore did her attack barking, a very vicious attack sound that she does when she's not liking something, and then she instantly was silent," Fought told Tuscon News Now.

The mother said she had not initially considered the possibility that a lion had entered the room where she and her daughter were also sleeping despite knowing that they populate the nearby countryside.

"For a second I thought 'Oh – she [Leonore] recognises Leo, our bigger dog' but I did think it was unusual and then I saw the lion walk back out the door," she told NBC Bay Area.

"I knew it wasn't Leo because it wasn't her normal bark. Because she plays with Leo a lot, and it didn't seem normal. It's hard to fathom, it's beyond what we thought," she added.

Police said they had been unable to find definite traces of a mountain lion in the bedroom or around the perimeter of Fought's property.

However, she says she is sure she knows what she saw moving out of her bedroom door and that in the morning she found "wet, very clear, large paw prints walking in",

Daughter Catalina was left shaken by the incident but vowed not to let a similar fate befall one of her other pets, saying: "[We will] not let our dogs out at night and fix a lock on the door."

Detective Salvador Zuno, spokesman for the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office told the LA Times: "What's so rare and shocking about this is that the animal comes up to the property and enters the home."

The alleged lion attack took place in the village of Pescadero, California Google Maps