More than two weeks after , police said they will consult wildlife experts and animal rights groups to develop a new response plan.
The 95-pound animal was killed May 22 in a courtyard just a block from the Third Street Promenade after the Santa Monica Police Department and the state Department of Fish and Game attempted to sedate it using a tranquilizer dart gun.
The attempt was unsuccessful and the killing irked animal lovers across Los Angeles. They faulted the police department for not taking a different approach to subdue the lion. , a local veterinarian asked that she and others with experience handling big cats be called on to assist with future capture and release efforts.
In a press release issued by the police department late Thursday evening to announce plans for a June meeting with groups such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, police Sgt. Richard Lewis said that until the May 22 encounter, there had not been a report of a mountain lion in city limits for at least 30 years.
"The Santa Monica Police Department is formulating a unique approach to address the concerns associated with this unusual occurrence," he said in the statement.
The police department and Fish and Game have previously defended the shooting, insisting it was in the best interest of public safety. In the press release, Lewis outlined authorities' response over the course of a 3 ½-hour period the morning of May 22:
The Department of Fish and Game attempted to use a tranquilizer dart to sedate the mountain lion. The lion immediately became aggressive and looked for an avenue of escape. It charged and shattered one of the glass doors at the courtyard's entryway.
The lion leaped effortlessly over large planters within the courtyard as it searched for an avenue of escape. Firefighters sprayed water at the glass doors of the courtyard's entryway in an attempt to render them opaque to deter the lion from trying to run through or jump over the approximately eight foot tall doors. The mountain lion was not hit with water from the fire hoses.
Pepper balls (Oleoresin Capsicum), the size of paintballs, were fired into the ground in an attempt to prevent the mountain lion from approaching the front of the courtyard and attempting to escape.
In an email this week to Patch, Oak Park resident Cristina Cooper suggested the mountain lion could have been lured into a crate with food or lavender or peppermint herbs or netted before it was tranquilized.
"Instead of being so quick to use deadly force on wild animals that stray into our neighborhoods and cities, we could all use the education to realize there are other ways to handle these animals," she wrote.
A National Parks Service biologist who studies the population in the Santa Monica Mountains told Patch that he has successfully captured and released a mountain lion from the Pacific Palisades using a stealthier tranquilizer blow dart.
Invited to the June meeting are the California Department of Fish and Game, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, In Defense of Animals, the Pacific Institute for Restoration Ecology California State University Channel Islands and local veterinarians.
The goal is to "explore viable alternatives in an effort to prepare for any future incidents," according to the police press release.