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Mountain lion cub shot and killed in Santa Paula

February 17, 2009 |  4:23 pm

Police officers shot and killed a mountain lion cub today after it charged officers who surrounded the cat in Santa Paula.

Santa Paula Police Chief Steve MacKinnon said his department began receiving reports of mountain lions in hillside neighborhoods Friday and the reports continued over the weekend. On Sunday, police made two reverse 911 calls to residents in those neighborhoods.

A resident called police about 8:30 a.m. today after seeing one of the cats in their yard in the 300 block Dana Drive. The sighting prompted another round of reverse 911 calls.

MacKinnon said police set up a perimeter and called in officials from the state Department of Fish and Game. Before they arrived, however, a mountain lion cub weighing approximately 40 pounds approached one officer and then turned and ran toward another.

"They thought they were in imminent danger," MacKinnon said. "At that point, unfortunately, the mountain lion was shot and killed."

MacKinnon said police and Fish and Game officials believe there were five big cats — two adults, a juvenile and two cubs — in the area.

—Andrew Blankstein