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Mountain Lion 'Knocked Down' Mechanic After Hiding In His Shop Overnight

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A man opening up his auto body shop got quite a surprise when a mountain lion came dashing out of the door and knocked him over.

Hank Barkefelt of LJ Automotive in Acton, on 415 Sierra Highway near Palmdale, was opening his shop around 8:45 a.m. on Friday when the big cat came dashing out of the door. "I just opened up the shop like I do every morning, and he came out from a little cubby hole we have back there and just stumped me against the wall and took off," Barkefelt told ABC 7. "She wasn't aggressive at all. No teeth, no nothing."

The mechanic called authorities, and sheriff's deputies kept an eye on the cougar until a warden with California Department Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) showed up. Scared, the young female took cover underneath a nearby car. Officials decided it was best to tranquilize the animal in order to transport her back into the wild.

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After being shot with a tranquilizer dart, the mountain lion stumbled across the freeway where she collapsed in a neighboring business.

This mountain lion pounced on an auto mechanic this morning. We hear from the mechanic (scary stuff) at 6 @ABC7 pic.twitter.com/GR9bGLWcRr

— Leo Stallworth (@ABC7Leo) August 28, 2015

"With the freeway and the people around and everything, I didn't feel it was safe to let her get back where she needs to be on her own," Lieutenant Marty Wall of CDFW told KTLA. The mountain lion was determined to be female around 2 years old, 75 pounds, and in good health. Wall thinks the animal just took a wrong turn. "She just found herself in a bad place at a bad time."

For the cat, the encounter has a happy ending. Officials didn't think she was dangerous and later released her into Angeles National Forest. They made sure to douse her with water to make sure she stayed cool in the heat. "In general, a healthy mountain lion that isn't cornered or injured doesn’t represent a huge risk to people as long as they steer clear of it," said Wall.

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