Santa Monica Police Department Convenes Review and Focus Group for Recent Mountain Lion Incident
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2012
Contact: Richard Lewis, SergeantPhone: 310.458.8462
On June 25, 2012, the Santa Monica Police Department hosted a focus group meeting in response to the May 22, 2012 incident involving a wild mountain lion. The mountain lion was discovered in the courtyard of 1227 2nd Street in Downtown Santa Monica. The focus group, which met at the Ken Edwards Center, consisted of representatives from the City of Santa Monica, the California Department of Fish and Game, the National Park Service, California State University Channel Islands, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (SPCA-LA), In Defense of Animals, Animal Advocates, Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, and local veterinarians.
The Santa Monica Police Department presented a comprehensive timeline detailing the various efforts undertaken to safely capture the mountain lion. Although these efforts lasted for more than three hours, they were ultimately unsuccessful. The mountain lion was killed to prevent it from escaping from the courtyard and endangering the public. The group’s participants shared insights on the mountain lion population which inhabits the Santa Monica Mountains, their migratory habits and general behavioral patterns. Methods of wild animal capture were also discussed including the inherent risks and the reasonableness of those methods when applicable in real-life scenarios. Public safety, legal considerations, and the need for pre-established agreements to enhance public and private sector partnerships were also discussed.
The group’s participants readily acknowledged that although public safety must be the primary consideration under such circumstances, the safe capture of wildlife is a valued response which is subject to a complex series of variables. Accordingly, it was agreed that when wild animals are encountered in urban settings, a successful animal capture may be elusive.
Based upon the thoughtful and productive focus group discussion, to address future such circumstances, the Santa Monica Police Department has committed to:
- Develop a notification system inclusive of verified, local subject matter experts qualified in wildlife capture. Provide pre-incident training to first response personnel should a similar incident occur.
- Acquire appropriate equipment and tools related to wildlife capture.
- Support on-going efforts to achieve long-term solutions to reduce the likelihood of wildlife entering densely populated urban environs.
The Santa Monica Police Department recognizes and appreciates the significant contributions of the focus group’s participants, specifically:
Paul Hamdorf, Assistant Chief – CA Department of Fish and Game
Dan Sforza, Captain – CA Department of Fish and Game
Marc Kenyon, Environmental Scientist – CA Department of Fish and Game
Jeff Sikich, Wildlife Biological Technician – National Park Service, Santa Monica Mountains
Dr. Sean Anderson, Professor – California State University, Channel Islands
Dr. Kenneth Jones, Santa Monica based veterinarian
Dr. Jennifer Conrad, Santa Monica resident and veterinarian
Madeline Bernstein, President – Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, LA
Jack Carrone, Communications Director – In Defense of Animals
Mary Cummins, President – Animal Advocates
Dr. Karen Heard, – Santa Monica Animal Shelter; volunteer veterinarian
Ali Crumpacker, Director – Fund for Animals Wildlife Center
Elaine Polachek, Assistant City Manager City of Santa Monica
Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the USDA. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.