This is a photo of paw prints on the hood of City Councilman Rick Cook’s car. Photo by Don Johnson

Be aware! Mountain lion visit suspected at Loma Vista home

March 02, 2005
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesSanta Paula Police want the public to be aware there doesn’t have to be a drought for wild animals to explore residential areas…and in one particular case what is believed to be a mountain lion visited an area home Thursday evening.According to SPPD Sr. Officer Jimmy Fogata, the SPPD received a call on February 24 at about 8 p.m. that unknown and/or suspicious animal tracks had been found on the 700 block of Loma Vista. “It was determined that the tracks were likely, due to their size, made by a mountain lion that had wandered into the area. No evidence was located to indicate the animal had done any damage to property or pets at the time.”Vice Mayor Rick Cook’s home was the scene of the visit, and he believes that the big cat might have been interested in one of his smaller house variety felines. When Cook and his wife Sally returned to their home he saw the large paw prints on their vehicle. “It might have been looking at one of our cats,” noted Cook.The paw prints were definitely oversized, up to four inches, he added. And the unknown big cat left some claw marks also: “I think it slid on the car,” while perhaps trying to gain a better view of the domestic cats owned by the Cooks. “At first I thought it might have been a small bear,” Cook noted.
Sr. Officer Fogata said that, due to the discovery, the SPPD is asking residents to be “diligent about disposing trash in their refuse containers,” making sure they are closed tightly, and “not leaving pets and pet food out at night. If you should see evidence of a mountain lion or hear something that might be a mountain lion, contact the SPPD immediately.”Mountain lions have “been found within the city in past years, normally during the summer months when water is scarce in the hills” surrounding Santa Paula. Sr. Officer Fogata said that in such cases the animals have been tranquilized by State Fish & Game and then relocated.The SPPD has not received additional reports of mountain lions in the city, “However, city officials think the public should be informed so they may be aware and take measures to ensure the safety of you, your family and your pets.”

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