Mountain lion wanders into California city center, is killed

LOS ANGELES Tue May 22, 2012 10:25pm EDT

1 of 2. A mountain lion is seen as it is cornered in Santa Monica, California in this photograph released by the Santa Monica Police Department to Reuters on May 22, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Santa Monica Police Department/Handout

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A mountain lion ventured into the center of a crowded Southern California city on Tuesday, and was shot and killed when authorities had trouble corralling the animal in the courtyard of a building, police said.

It was not immediately clear how the 3-year-old mountain lion weighing about 75 pounds (34 kg) ended up in the middle of the beachside city of Santa Monica, which lies just west of Los Angeles.

Police received a call from a janitor who spotted the predator at about sunrise, a block away from a pedestrian thoroughfare called the Third Street Promenade that during the day is filled with shoppers and street performers.

The giant cat ended up in the courtyard of a building a few hundred feet from a bluff overlooking the beach, with Santa Monica police officers and California Department of Fish and Game wardens at the scene.

"A variety of means were used to try to keep the animal back inside the courtyard area," Santa Monica police spokesman Lieutenant Robert Almada said.

"We deployed less-lethal pepper ball, we deployed fire hoses, and the animal continued to charge in (an) attempt to flee out of the courtyard. Regrettably, the animal was euthanized in order to protect public safety."

Santa Monica police Lieutenant Calisse Lindsey said it was the first time she could remember such an incident in her 24 years in the department.

The densely populated city is several miles south of the Santa Monica Mountains, an area that is home to many different kinds of wildlife including mountain lions.

Madeline Bernstein, president of Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, said her organization was "dismayed" with the killing of the mountain lion.

"Basically, they agitated and frightened a cornered cat before they killed her," she said.

(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Cynthia Johnston and Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (11)
JohnnyD4233 wrote:
Madeline Bernstein, president of Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, said her organization was “dismayed” with the killing of the rat.

“Basically, they agitated and frightened a cornered rat before they killed it,” she said.

May 23, 2012 3:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
auspog wrote:
“the animal continued to charge” duh! what a surprise – have these people got any common sense at all?

May 23, 2012 4:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
terryble wrote:
Pepper balls and a fire hose, and they wonder why the poor cat wouldn’t stick around for more fun and tried to charge its way out? Really? Ever heard of tranquilizer guns, you idiots? If you were able to shoot it with a regular gun, why wasn’t a tranquilizer gun utilized? Oh sure, when I want my kitty to settle down, I just pepper spray her and spray her with water. Not!!! Just looking at the picture of that beautiful creature laying there, harming nobody, and knowing it was abused and killed senselessly, it’s just sickening.

May 23, 2012 2:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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