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Mountain lion in Big Bear shot by deputy

May 6, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A wandering mountain lion was fatally shot by a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy in the mountain community of Big Bear on Thursday. The deputy had no choice but to kill the animal. On Thursday morning, Allen Lazerus looked outside his backyard to find about a dozen sheriff's deputies trying to stop an unpredictable and dangerous mountain lion.

"There was a bunch of activity in the back and I heard a couple gunshots and a shotgun go off," said Lazerus.

Those shots killed the mountain lion. Lazerus said the deputies told him they weren't taking any chances because the animal had already attacked and killed a pet dog in the area and was prowling towards the residential area again.

"He told me that this cat, when they come down and find a territory where they have food, usually they just go in circles in that particular area," said Lazerus. "He said it would have been a danger to anybody who had pets or animals in this area."

The mountain lion was first spotted a week ago and was again reported early Thursday morning. A nearby elementary school was put on lockdown, until authorities could contain the animal and eliminate the threat.

"We felt that the mountain lion appeared to be either malnourished or possibly ill and posed an immediate threat to public safety," said Jodie Miller, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Dept.

Mountain lions aren't as common as coyotes and bobcats in the Big Bear Lake area. They have been seen from time to time and can be dangerous especially when they are sick, just like the animal that was killed on Thursday.

"I guess they were happy that they finally, with the school being this close and after all there's people around here too. They were glad they were able to get it," said Lazerus.


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