Members of an animal-rights group will protest outside Wednesday afternoon to decry the killing of a mountain lion last week just a block from the Third Street Promenade.
The animal, weighing between 75 and 90 pounds, after it wandered into a courtyard on Second Street. The authorities said the mountain lion was calm until they hit it was a tranquilizer dart. Subsequent attempts to keep it from running into the downtown area—including hitting it with pepper balls and spraying the courtyard's glass with fire hoses—were unsuccessful, they said.
In Defense of Animals, the organization hosting Wednesday's news conference at City Hall, insists better tactics should have been employed. The use of pepper bullets and fire hoses served only to agitate and frighten the lion, it said.
"A solid strategy, including all equipment necessary to handle similar situations, must be put in place before another tragedy occurs," In Defense of Animals Director Jack Carone.
Last week, the Los Angeles chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals criticized the killing. The public has also expressed outrage over the shooting.
"Every effort must be made to save our precious wildlife. Even if it had taken an extra hour, and more precautions to the public, it must be tried," Patch commenter wrote.
The Santa Monica Police Department and the California Department of Fish and Game has said the killing was regrettable, but insisted they had to protect the public.
A biologist who studies mountain lions said the animal likely left its habitat in the eastern edge of the Santa Monica Mountains to try to establish his own home range.
The whether the use of force was appropriate. Animal rights groups have called for an independent investigation, too.
Wednesday's press conference is at 1 p.m. at City Hall, 1685 Main St. in Santa Monica.