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Stuffed mountain lion scares OC neighbor

July 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police and Animal Control rushed to a Laguna Beach home after a woman reported that there was a mountain lion in her neighbor's yard - only to find the animal was not a real concern.

Laguna Beach Police Lt. Jason Kravetz said they've notified residents recently of a bobcat that has been snatching some of the domesticated cats in the area.

So Beverly Bradham's heart started pounding when she glanced into her neighbor's yard on Sunday and saw what appeared to be a sleeping mountain lion. She said she didn't have her neighbor's phone number, so she quickly dialed 911.

"What appears to be a giant mountain lion lying on somebody's patio table," she said in the 911 call. "That would be pretty scary if somebody walked out and found that. You guys, somebody ought to get down here as soon as you can."

When Animal Control officers arrived, they discovered that the sleeping lion was actually a harmless stuffed animal.

"It was a real cat, but a dead taxidermy cat," Bradham said.

The owner of the stuffed mountain lion admitted lending the lion to friends as part of a prank.

"As a joke, we thought 'Let's put it in the neighbor's yard and scare the neighbor's wife.' Well, before the neighbor could come home, another neighbor saw the mountain lion, called the police," said neighbor Dirk Larson.

Bradham called 911 a few minutes later to inform them that it was a stuffed mountain lion.

"It is an artificial, stuffed mountain lion," she said with a laugh. "I'm so sorry." The 911 operator responded, "Don't be sorry, it actually kind of made my day."

Kravetz says Bradham did the right thing.

"She thought it was real, it looked like it was asleep," he said. "Fortunately, we all get to laugh about it now."