Officials capture mountain lion in Simi Valley neighborhood

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- A mountain lion was found Thursday morning in a Simi Valley backyard, but officials said it wasn't the big cat that killed a resident's dog and injured another pet last week in the same suburb.

Police and wildlife officers responded to the 2700 block of Broadmoor Avenue around dawn after the homeowners spotted the large animal prowling around their property.

AIR7 HD was over the scene as California Game wardens removed the tranquilized big cat and placed it into a truck bed after cornering it in the backyard.

"I saw a mountain lion jumping through a backyard...they put a shot in the mountain lion to make him go to sleep," said one boy, who watched the scene from the kitchen window as the cougar tried to shake off the tranquilizer.

His parents shuddered at the thought of what could have happened.

"Crazy that it would be here and jump the fence. I mean, we let our kids out in the backyard all the time, and they're always out there playing, so it's pretty crazy, very shocking," his mother said.

The 100-pound male lion was outfitted with a tracking collar that scientists will use to study the animal as part of an ongoing research project on the big cats, National Park Service spokeswoman Ana Beatriz Cholo said. The lion, dubbed P-79, will be released back into the mountains northwest of Los Angeles, she said.

Mountain lions are an iconic native species in the region but face increasing problems as development, roads and highways fragment their habitat.

The cougar that killed a miniature Schnauzer on Dec. 5 is a female. The dog's owner told police she jumped on the mountain lion's back and tried to pry open its mouth to free the family pet, but the big cat became aggressive toward her and she retreated into her home.

The female mountain lion was already outfitted with a tracking collar, however, the device is broken and wildlife officials are not sure if the mountain lion is still in the area.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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