by Anneli Rufus
Berkeley police located and shot a mountain lion in a Walnut Street front yard early this morning.
"On Tuesday morning 8/31/10 around 0213 hours, The City of Berkeley Police (BPD) and Fire Departments got a call from a community member reporting that there was a mountain lion in the area of Shattuck Avenue and Cedar Street," reads a bulletin from Berkeley Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Mary Kusmiss. “The first caller said that the animal was in the parking lot of the now vacant Elephant Pharmacy building.
"BPD called the Department of Fish and Game requesting their response and obtain guidance as to the Mountain Lion behavior and potential public safety threat.
"BPD Officers went to investigate and when they arrived, the Mountain Lion ran eastbound on Cedar street. The animal then ran southbound on Spruce Street and jumped the fence into the playground area of All Souls Episcopal Church and again jumped the fence into the rear yard of 1612 Spruce Street. BPD contacted the residents of that address sharing the situation and advising them to 'Shelter in Place.' Officers then set up a perimeter around the address.
"A short time later, the animal was spotted running through the western edge on the perimeter onto Oxford Street. BPD officers moved the public safety perimeter west as a result. The animal continued to move west and made its way to Walnut Street. The Mountain Lion was seen going into the rear yard 1634 Walnut Street. The residents of 1634 Walnut Street were contacted by BPD and they offered their residence and rear porch as a place in which to better locate the animal.
"The animal was found in the rear yard of 1634 Walnut Street. BPD Officers with Patrol rifle took two shots at the Mountain Lion. The Mountain Lion came towards them and continued into the driveway of the house directly north, 1630 Walnut Street, where it was dispatched by an officer with a patrol shotgun at approximately 3:26 a.m.
"A Warden from Fish & Game who arrived, assessed the Mountain Lion as a 90/100 lbs female and removed the body for examination and disposal. BPD contacted residents adjacent to the event location and ensured there was no damage to any property.
"Despite the sensitive nature of this event, we feel confident about the actions taken by the BPD Officers considering the totality of the events, when considering the densely populated area in which the animal was in, the homeless that sleep in the area, the overnight employees who clean businesses and the like, the adjacent schools and the northern Shattuck corridor. BPD believed that this Mountain Lion posed a significant public safety threat. BPD officers who have to dispatch animals find it challenging, but it is part of our duty to protect the community."