Thursday, February 26, 2009

Calif. woman grant depredation permit to kill mountain lion

You can learn more about depredation permits and California mountain lions from the Mountain Lion Foundation:

Cherry Valley woman granted permit to kill mountain lion who attacked horse

10:00 PM PST on Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Press-Enterprise

A woman was given a permit to kill the mountain lion that attacked her horse on her property in the hills of Cherry Valley earlier this week.

Debbie Avakian had to board her horse at a ranch in Cherry Valley because she was afraid the animal would return to her property and again attack her 24-year-old quarter horse, Skippy. The ranch where Skippy is now being boarded is away from the hills where mountain lions are likely to roam, Avakian said.

The tan horse had 16 stitches around her ear and a bandage wrapped around her leg to protect another wound. Skippy appeared calm Wednesday afternoon. She wouldn't eat and paced nervously until Avakian moved her to the other ranch.

The California Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologist Kevin Brennan examined the injuries to the horse received while in a corral at Avakian's home on Avenida San Timoteo and other evidence to determine that a mountain lion attacked the horse sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning.

Brennan said mountain lions rarely attack horses -- or humans -- but he has seen about one attack a year for the past four or five years in Riverside County. Despite those incidents, Brennan said there is no way to predict when a mountain lion might strike.

Brennan gave Avakian a permit to kill the mountain lion that expires 10 days after it is issued. He said about 100 mountain lions are killed in California every year under a law that allows people to hunt the animal if it has harmed their property.

He said it would be easy to determine which animal is responsible.

"They are creatures of habit," Brennan said. "They stay in the same generalized area."

Avakian said she doesn't know how to hunt, but is considering offers people have made to shoot the animal on her behalf.

"I am totally rattled," Avakian said. "I never thought (a mountain lion) would be that close."

She has forbidden people from walking on her property and plans to keep her horses boarded for at least a month.

"We are afraid for everyone's safety," Avakian said.

Reach Jessica Logan at 951-368-9466 or


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