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Santa Monica Says They'll Change How They Deal With Random Mountain Lions...If It, Like, Ever Happens Again

A 2005 image of a mountain lion from the California DFG (CaliforniaDFG via Flickr)
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Officials in Santa Monica were taken to task by the public and animal rights groups when they opted to kill a mountain lion they could not subdue after he had shown up unexpectedly in a building near the Third Street Promenade. Now the city says they're going to come up with a plan to deal with that kind of situation, but note that in over 30 years the city hadn't had to deal with a mountain lion until last month.

City News Service reports that Santa Monica police Sgt. Richard Lewis said there are plans for his department to meet later this month with reps from the California Department of Fish and Game, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, In Defense of Animals, the Pacific Institute for Restoration Ecology, Cal State Channel Islands and veterinarians who specialize in large animals.

Their goal? "[T]o explore viable alternatives in an effort to prepare for any future incident."

The May 22 incident found a 95-pound 3-year-old male mountain lion in a courtyard of a building on Second Street--local officials hadn't had to contend with such a surprise animal visitor in decades. When the Department of Fish and Games responded to the scene, it shot the animal with pepper balls and fire hoses before killing her.

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Authorities said they had no choice but to shoot the lion to protect public safety, but animal rights activists have said that the shooting could have been avoided. They say that the pepper bullets and fire hoses only escalated the situation, and freaked out the lion causing it to bolt.

Lewis and authorities in Santa Monica maintain that they acted in the best interest of the public and had exhausted all other options.