Animal Rights

Why Did the Department of Fish and Game Kill an 80-Pound Mountain Lion in Sunland?

Comments (0)


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 10:30 AM
click to enlarge R.I.P. - KTLA
  • KTLA
  • R.I.P.

An officer-involved shooting in Sunland last Friday afternoon -- between a warden and a young male mountain lion -- has L.A. animal advocates calling for justice.

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) spokesman Andrew Hughan, a resident of the foothills near the Angeles National Forest called 911 after spotting a mountain lion in her garage. The LAPD was first on scene, but no blood was shed until a DFG warden showed up, according to Hughan.

By that time, says the DFG spokesman, the lion had moved from the garage to "some wooded area near a couple houses."

But that apparently wasn't far enough to put the public out of danger.

After using his best judgment, the warden decided to "dispatch" the intruder, says Hughan. In other words -- blow its brains out and haul it away, like a certain DFG commissioner on his day off.

But at least when Dan Richards murdered his mountain lion (in Idaho, where it's legal), he feasted upon it and compared it, delightedly, to pork loin. The 80-pounder killed in the Angeles Forest foothills, on the other hand, seems to have died for nothing.

None of the neighbors who spoke with KTLA had been approached by the lion. DFG spokesman Hughan, however, argues that the warden on the other end of the gun is an "extremely competent" guy ("I know him very well," says Hughan) who made the best possible split-second decision based on the circumstances.

"It's exactly like a SWAT team would do," says Hughan. "The level of force depends on the situation."

To those who argue the lion could have been tranquilized, Hughan responds: "Putting a tranquilizing dart is not like the movies. It takes 10 minutes or more for darts to take effect. ... If you dart that lion and it runs out onto the 210 at 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, you can imagine the carnage."

(Actually, you don't have to imagine. Gory photo evidence here.)

He says the giant black bear famously tranquilized near Glendale a couple weeks ago appeared so terrified that, unlike Friday's mountain lion, DFG officers determined he would sit still and cooperate if tranquilized.

"If that bear had mauled the guy on the cellphone, we would have killed that bear, too," says Hughan.

One KTLA reader argues that humans can easily shoo mountain lions away themselves, and need not call upon wardens with guns:

"Next time one of the Sunland invaders who are living among the resident mountain lions sees one of the big cats, just get a couple of pots and pans and bang them together loudly. The mountain lion will leave the area."

What do you think? Should DFG's public-safety policy err a tad more sympathetic on the side of Angeles Forest natives?

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • The World Cup Celebrated And Mourned By Angelenos
    The World Cup has taken Los Angeles by storm. With viewings beginning at 9 a.m., soccer fans have congregated at some of the best bars in the city including The Village Idiot, Goal, The Parlour on Melrose, Big Wang's and more. Whether they're cheering for their native country, favorite players or mourning the USA's loss, Angelenos have paid close attention to the Cup, showing that soccer is becoming more than a fad. All photos by Daniel Kohn.
  • La Brea Tar Pits "Pit 91" Re-Opening
    Starting June 28th, The Page Museum once again proudly unveils the museum's Observation Pit, which originally opened in 1952 but has spent most of the last half century closed. Now visitors can get an up-close look at Pit 91, which is currently under excavation. The La Brea Tar Pits, home of the Page Museum, is one of the world's most famous ice age fossil locations, known for range of fossils from saber-toothed cats and mammoths to microscopic plants, seeds and insects. The new "Excavator Tour" is free with museum admission if purchased online at tarpits.org . All photos by Nanette Gonzales.