Mountain lion killed in San Luis Obispo

July 7, 2010

A mountain lion was shot and killed in the backyard of a San Luis Obispo residence on the city’s northeast side on Tuesday night. [KEYT]

San Luis Obispo Police responded to a 911 call that reported a cougar was in a tree at a home on the 400 block of Jeffrey Street. Officers set up a perimeter and stood by while a San Luis Obispo Animal Services team attempted to tranquilize the large cat.

Their attempts failed and the lion attempted to jump a fence. Because of the danger the cat posed to the populated residential area, an officer shot and killed the cougar.

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OK, so they darted this cat while it was still in the tree. 4 minutes later it falls out of the tree, gets up and bounds off, jumping a fence to get away. And they then shoot it dead.

Why couldn’t they have waited a minute or two more for the tranquilizer to work? If it was enough to drop the cat out of the tree, it might have worked fine with a couple of more minutes time. I guarantee you the cops either evacuated everyone in the neighborhood or told them all to stay inside their houses until this was over. So the actual threat to the public had to be minimal.

I see this as trigger-happy cops in a panic shooting a defenseless and tranquilized animal, then patting themselves on the back and saying it was absolutely necessary for public safety, to take the heat off.

Actually, all they need to do is turn on a police car siren, use that obnoxious bleating from a bullhorn, or even blow a whistle really loud (every cop has one) and this poor creature would likely have run off back into the creek where it came from. Probably wouldn’t have stopped until it hit the hills again.

The police have nothing to be proud of in this incident and if what the posters here are saying is right — that these animals are more frequently coming into contact with humans because WE are moving into their territory — then the cops need better training and crisis management procedures in place for the next mountain lion that wanders into town.

easymoney, thank you for your post. I absolutely agree. These poor animals are finding their territories encroached on by homes and industry. We are eradicating their natural prey, and forcing them to find other ways to survive, which sometimes leads them into populated areas. They have no malicious intent…they act on instinct and survival only.

There is ALWAYS a way to subdue and relocate an animal, if these people actually knew what they were doing. Killing them should never even be considered an option. I guarantee in this case it was not a last-resort. Shame on the people involved in the destruction of innocent creature, and shame on those of you who condone it.

stevenslo, no problemo, just trying to understand the reasons humans do the sometimes idiotic things they do…

Most human encounters with wild animals, especially predators result in irrational behavior by the humans that usually winds up not boding well for the animals. Lions and other large carnivores have no checks or balances in the human manipulated natural environment, they are the top of the food chain and do what predators do best, eat smaller game. And now that they hold special protected status and there is no hunting or other management plan in place to keep them in check, I predict we will see many more of them, see more pets or livestock killed and see more hysterical citizens calling 911.

Attributing warm fuzzy emotions or feelings to wild animals always leads to unrealistic situations and expectations. Humans have preconceived ideas about wild animals usually based on some TV show or zoo visit and is completely unrealistic in terms of real life and nature. Humans either get scared or get aggressive toward them, both because of ignorance or fear. Encounters between humans and predators usually results in the animals get killed, regardless of the causes or reasons.

They are called WILD for a very good reason and should be left alone. And humans who move into the wldland urban interface had better get used to it…

astounding :)

be glad i merely castigated rather than castrated lol

I hate to impose any facts regarding mountain lion attacks on people, but for those few who are interested, a comprehensive study from 1890 to present is found at . This is not presented as a position in support of shooting the animal as I would hope that all other remedies were exhausted prior to that decision.

Typical for mankind to kill anything that moves.

All we had to do was dart it…then relocate it.

They do that all the time.

…bunch of trigger happy jerks.

The facts are very simple, humans move into new areas with an urban/wild land interface, bring their prey food pets with them, make improvements to the habitat like water and feed which prey foods utilizes over natives hence the growth in population, remove all management practices like hunting, use human emotional values when describing wild animal species, then act surprised when large predators like lions come trolling for pets or possibly children. Large predators eat smaller prey animals…

The county uses a federal trapper who’s job it is to deal with all offensive animals, but when large predators like lions or bears come into the urban environment sometimes the time it takes to trap those species and is not quick enough for the citizenry. Most citizens call 911 because wild animals especially large predators are seen as a threat, and they want instant satisfaction. Hence the sheriffs department is the responder and they are tasked with protecting the public.

If most people would take the time to educate themselves on wild animals first, they would learn most all wild animals especially predators would rather flee when facing humans, or that they have become almost completely nocturnal and since humans are diurnal interaction is very rare. Since there are no top predators for lions or bears, and the citizens of CA voted to protect these animals by preventing management hunting, they should face the reality those species will propagate, increase in numbers and expand their territory.

People who move into the country need to learn to accept that wildlife is already here and does not recognize fences or humans emotions as valid.

Human beings are some sick bastards, constantly seeking to word things right so it sounds like we’re just trying to do the right thing. Let me be clear about this. If you are concerned about mountain lions because you have small children or some other reason, then do not live in rural areas, or the edge of populated areas at the base of a mountain. If you choose to do so anyway, you DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to kill everything that frightens you unless it poses a DIRECT threat to you.

Between 1890 and , in North America there were 88 confirmed attacks on humans, resulting in 20 deaths. THREE of those were in California.

To the people who called Animal Services… You could have scared it off, but since you didn’t, this middle finger is for you. Go live somewhere else.

You’re so right mkaney. To those of you who care, never trust the authorities. No matter what they tell you, know that they want to and will KILL THE LION. Never trust them, never contact them unless you want to see a beautiful creature killed. Instead contact He will humanly trap the lion and move it to a safe place where there is water and game outside the sphere of human encroachment.

Who do you think voted us down so much, parents of small children, or law enforcement officers?

“Never trust them, never contact them unless you want to see a beautiful creature killed.” . Call Cindy instead. She knows everything and will pet the animal until it purrs and lays on it’s back, then she will lead it away with a saucer of warm milk to a place of safety for the cat.

I beg to differ with your numbers. I havent took time to research it, but memory tells me of at least 2 deaths in recent history and i was certainly born after 1890. San Diego County and Santa Barbara County comes to mind somehow…

That’s astounding. You haven’t done any research, but you’re SURE I must be wrong and you beg to differ with my numbers. Perhaps this is the problem with politics in this country. Please, do your research, because you’re going to discover that I am right. But I doubt you’ll ever come back and concede to the fact.

Truth is, you probably won’t do the research, and you will continue to act based upon your assumptions.

Truth is, it seemed unreasonable to go 120 years with such a low number of deaths by these animals even though I personally recalled a lot of recent attacks. Even though I admitted I didn’t look into it, you chose to castrate me because of my reasonable assumptions. Well guess what; I spent my 15 minutes of research time and discovered you ARE WRONG. I also discovered why attacks are on the rise and why there was a long period of time without deaths. For 70 years California allowed hunting of these creatures and 12,500 of ‘em were eradicated as vermin. Now the lions are back, and the California Department of Fish and Game allows depredation of approximately 2.5 of these animals per day. Here is a list of the SEVEN (7) human deaths I discovered in my short internet search to 2004;

1890-7 yr old boy, Quartz Valley, Siskiyou County

1909-woman and child in Morgan Hill, Santa Clara County

1991-Travis Zwieg, age 3, of La Quinta, California

1994 – Barbara Schoener, 40, Auburn Lake Trails, California

1994-Iris Kenna, 56, Orange County, California

2004-Mark Reynolds, 35, Orange County, California

Now it is your turn to go back and correct all your pointed posts on all the different forums. My guess is you have no integrity and wont do it….

You are correct in that there have been more than two deaths. Had you demonstrated a much larger number of deaths I would most definitely apologize and correct my posts here and on other forums. However, not all of the cases you list are confirmed deaths by mountain lions. Travis Zwieg is a missing child, and evidence of a mountain lion was found near where he disappeared. Mark Reynolds may have actually died of a heart attack. And in the 1909 incident, the woman and child actually died of rabies. Nonetheless, we’re talking about SEVEN deaths since 1890, if you include all of them. Do you feel this substantively demonstrates the point of my argument to be incorrect? If you had come up with 15 or 20 deaths, then I’d concede, I just honestly don’t think that the difference between three and seven, over 120 years, is really large enough to invalidate my point.

That being said, I very much appreciate the fact that you did take the time to do the actual research rather than simply leave it at your assumptions, and for that I apologize for castigating you as I did.

FYI, I did go back to the other forums on which I commented on this article and I posted a correction.