Belen Grabb’s worst fear was that the lion would jump on her car, break a window and eat her for breakfast.
“I cried because I was so scared,” the 44-year-old Nine Mile resident said Friday. “I never saw anything like that in my life, so close and loose.”
Grabb’s sighting of a big cat at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday sparked two days of fruitless searches in west Spokane. Her description of a 500-pound African lion, which animal control officials believe is someone’s pet, kept children inside for recess at a nearby school and rerouted horseback riders at Indian Canyon Riding Stables.
There is a possibility the lion is responsible for the death of a lamb Thursday on Houston Road.
Until Wednesday morning, Grabb had seen lions only in zoos. She never expected to see such a creature on her morning commute from Nine Mile to work at Lyn-Tron Inc. in Medical Lake.
But she isn’t worried about skeptics. She knows what she saw.
Plus, she learned after speaking with a Spokane County Animal Control officer that someone else also reported seeing the animal before she made her report.
“She said she believed me because another person called” and said he thought he saw a lion, Grabb said.
Grabb had just passed a slow-moving car Wednesday when she saw the lion walk out of the bushes.
“I said, ‘Oh my God!”’ Grabb stopped her car and another car stopped behind her. The lion was skinny and looked haggard.
She told herself to relax as she cried and her legs shook.
“I didn’t know what the intention was of this animal. I didn’t know if he wanted to run or jump on my car,” she said.
The lion, which Grabb described as a “dirty beige” color, did her no harm. It looked at her car, shook its brown mane and meandered slowly across Canyon Drive, she said.
Grabb said she worries for the walkers, joggers and children playing outside in the area.
“What if this animal takes someone’s life?”