A puma, wearing a wildlife tracking collar, has been reported to have attacked more than one dog in Simi Valley, beginning Wednesday evening. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) urges pet owners to take precautions.
“Lethal force should not be the go-to option,” said spcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein. “I urge officials to humanely handle the situation, with the safety of residents and the puma in mind.”
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.
Take these steps to live harmoniously with wildlife while at the same time protecting your home, family, and pets. For more tips, visit spcaLA.com.
• 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.
• Don’t 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.