spcaLA Responds

Los Angeles, CA – On the afternoon of October 17, 2017, Fontana Police Officers shot and killed a mountain lion after “authorities surrounded the approximately 71-pound cougar, saying it appeared agitated and jumped a 6-foot fence to get away,” according to KTLA.com.

“Without being present, it is difficult to say if the cat – who seemed to only move to escape when cornered – presented a threat to officers or the public,” said spcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein. “Typically, only the Department of Fish and Wildlife may take a puma, unless it poses an imminent threat, and even they are mandated to use nonlethal force first. Further investigation is needed.”

Following an incident in Santa Monica in 2012, California law was changed in 2013 to mandate that California Fish and Wildlife first use nonlethal methods to ‘take’ a mountain lion who does not pose an “imminent threat to public health or safety.” The statute (CA FISH & G § 4801.5) defines an imminent threat as a situation where a mountain lion exhibits one or more aggressive behaviors directed toward a person that is not reasonably believed to be due to the presence of responders.

More than half of California is mountain lion habitat. As people continue to encroach on wildlife, it is increasingly likely that animals will enter populated areas in search of resources. Mountain lions are a “specially protected species,” making it illegal to hunt them.

According to reports, the cougar may have been responsible for the deaths of several pets in the area, underscoring the need to allow pets to live indoors.

Take these steps to live harmoniously with wildlife while at the same time protecting your home, family, and pets. For more tips, click here.

    • Pets are members of the family, let them live in the house. Indoor-outdoor cats are more likely to be hit by a car, killed by a predator, or targeted by animal abusers.
    • Supervise pets’ and children’s outdoor activities. Mountain lions are most active in the dawn, dusk, and nighttime hours, but pets and small children should never be left unattended.
    • Do not feed deer or other wildlife, and do not leave pet food outdoors. Attracting prey animals will not only attract their predators, but wildlife can also carry ticks, fleas, parasites, and diseases that could harm people or pets.
    • Clear brush, dense ground cover, wood piles, and garden debris. This will not only eliminate hiding places for mountain lions, but it will also eliminate living areas for rodents. Reducing the rodent population will eliminate an attractive food source for coyotes, snakes, and other predators.
    • Protect caged animals such as chickens and rabbits. A hutch which stands above ground should have a solid bottom to prevent your pet from becoming easy prey for a coyote or raccoon.
    • Do not set out poison bait. More than likely, the wrong animal – like your pet – will consume it.
    • Do not hike, jog, or bike alone, especially in “mountain lion country.” Avoid these activities when predators are most active: dawn, dusk, and at night.
    • Do not corner, approach, or try to catch wildlife. If you are approached by a mountain lion, do not run. Make yourself as “big” and “loud” as possible while slowly retreating, giving the animal ample time to get away. If attacked, fight back and protect your head and throat.