A mountain lion seen several times in Petaluma over the past week still appears to be venturing into the city, judging by a new deer kill near Sunnyslope Road and the city’s western outskirts early on Saturday.
But a report of his presence on the east side of town made shortly after midnight Friday turns out to have been a false alarm, according to local animal control staff.
What was seen in the areas of North McDowell Boulevard near Round Walk Village Circle and Southpoint Boulevard was actually a domestic cat, said Mark Scott, executive director of North Bay Animal Services.
The person who saw the animal took a photo of it which was later examined by animal control and reassessed, he said.
Scott said he understood the confusion. “Everyone is concerned, you know? he said.
Early Saturday, however, two men on the west side of town, around Sunnyslope Road and Suncrest Hill Drive, observed a mountain lion heading towards Suncrest Hill towards an open space.
Dennis Leonard, a resident of Suncrest Hill Drive, met them shortly after his wife came across a dead deer on her way to work at 6:30 a.m. and he came out to see it.
The stag was clearly another kill and it was missing “a good deal of its hindquarters,” Leonard said. His blood had not yet clotted when he saw it shortly after.
Men who saw the cougar around 5:30 a.m. said the deer carcass was not on the road at the time, he said.
Scott, whose agency has since recovered the deer remains, said he believed he was likely killed by a puma. “He’s got all the signs, and given that some have been in the area…” he said, stopping.
It appears to be the last sign of an animal first reported Tuesday night east of Highway 101 and south of Corona Road.
The cougar was seen hours later well west of the highway, in a residential area near Petaluma High School, where it was caught on a home security camera early in the morning, roaming the yard fenced from a local resident. Before Friday, he was last seen Wednesday morning on a hill beyond Hayes Lane, police said.
Leonard said the Lynch Creek Trail, which goes under the freeway, and the adjacent dry stream corridors would allow a cougar to travel easily through town without being spotted before finding the rural area near his home and the park. regional Helen Putnam, an area that offers “an assortment of deer,” he said.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that no one sees a mountain lion walking down Petaluma Boulevard or Washington Street,” Leonard said. “They don’t need to do this.
Mountain lions live throughout the North Bay region and beyond, although human interactions are extremely rare and attacks even rarer, experts say.
But their towering size and power make them a surprising sight, and they can cause injury to humans, as well as loss of livestock.
People who encounter one are advised not to turn around and run but to face the animal, make noise and try to appear as tall as possible.
Pets and livestock should be kept overnight in a cougar-proof enclosure.
Petaluma Police are also asking anyone seeing a cougar to call the department at 707-778-4372.
More information is available at egret.org/living-with-lions.
You can reach editor Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or email@example.com. On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.