Hunters Charged In Lion Killing

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MITCHELL, S.D. — Two area men are among three hunters charged with illegally using dogs to tree and kill a mountain lion Feb. 1 in Pennington County.

Post a Photo of a Mountain Lion – Picture not included in story

The female lion had two kittens, one of which later died. The other is now in a zoo.

The lion was shot about three miles south of Hill City, S.D., Conservation Officer Blair Waite said.

Acting on a tip from an eyewitness, Waite ticketed James Jucht, 71, of Sioux Falls, S.D., on a charge of shooting the treed lion, and David Terveen, 63, of Emery, S.D., on a charge of aiding and abetting in the shooting.

Pennington County Deputy State’s Attorney Josh Hendrickson said Jucht and Terveen face the same charge, namely “violating the conditions of a big game license.” The big game violations are Class 1 misdemeanors, which can bring up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. Both men face a hearing April 19 in Rapid City, S.D., before Seventh Circuit Magistrate Judge Heidi Linngren.

Wade Musick, 41, of Mitchell, was ticketed on a charge of illegally using dogs to hunt lions, a Class 2 misdemeanor that could bring up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine if he is convicted.

Musick is scheduled for an April 10 hearing in Rapid City to discuss the charges.

“It’s a time for him to meet with the state to go over his options,” Henrickson said. “He can enter a plea at that time or ask for a court trial.”

All men were legally licensed hunters.

The use of dogs to hunt mountain lions was allowed this year on an experimental basis, but only within Custer State Park. The lion at issue was shot outside the park boundaries and before the in-park dog hunting season opened, Waite said.

“In Mr. Musick’s defense, he said he was using his dogs to hunt bobcats, which is legal in South Dakota,” he said. “Then this too wants to be banned!”

Waite said Musick was not present when the cat was shot, so he was not charged with aiding and abetting in the alleged crime, but he said Musick admitted his dogs treed the lion.

Waite acknowledged that dogs cannot differentiate between bobcats and mountain lions.

But apparently neither can some people,” he added.

One kitten was found immediately after the lion was killed, and the kitten was taken to a zoo. Waite said the other was trapped about 10 days later but was in such poor condition that it had to be euthanized. The bodies of the female lion and its kitten are being held as evidence.

Mike Kintigh, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks regional supervisor, said 61 mountain lions were taken during the annual harvest that ran from Dec. 26 to March 31. The number was short of the total 100-lion or 70-female limit set for the season. Only 35 female lions were taken. The female lion in question is not part of those harvest numbers at this time, but the lion and kitten will be added to his department’s lion mortality list, which tracks all lion deaths, Kintigh said.

Kintigh said lions are an emotional topic for hunters and conservationists alike, and statistics are tracked by groups nationwide. “How can hunters be as emotional as conservationists & especially animal advocates? They see it as a necessary blood sport”

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URGENT! Protect California Mountain Lions! Sign To Help Pass SB 132! / Mountain Lion Foundation

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California Senate Bill 132, introduced by Senator Jerry Hill, is designed to do three main things:

  • Clarify the issue of “imminent threat” so that less-than-lethal procedures may be used to ensure the public’s health or safety.
  • Authorize the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to partner with qualified individuals, education institutions, governmental agencies, or non-governmental organizations to assist in implementing non-lethal procedures.
  • Require an annual report to the legislature on all public safety incidents involving mountain lions.

Other states are already utilizing these non-lethal procedures. SB 132 will bring California up to date.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has created new guidelines for handling mountain lion public safety incidents. They have already incorporated many of these non-lethal measures, but without legal authorization (SB 132), they will not be able to implement them.

You can help rectify this situation by signing MLF’s petition to show your support for Senate Bill 132

“This petition needs urgent action as this bill (SB 132) will help protect California Mountain Lions from unwarranted killing.”

“As you may have heard in the last several months, California Mountain Lions have been shot by officials without just cause. Several months ago two California Mountain Lion cubs in a backyard were shot despite there being no imminent threat whatsoever”

“The cubs, starving and separated from their mother, were seeking shade from the heat and posed no threat to anyone.”

“In another highly publicized case, a terrified Mountain Lion was shot in a Santa Monica parking lot rather than being tranquillized and relocated, which raised outrage amongst California citizens. Please sign the petition and share with all. We need to preserve and protect this precious national treasure. “

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Cougar that attacked B.C. woman in her home is found & Killed

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A starving cougar that walked into the home of a woman and attacked her while she sat in her living room is now dead.

“Sorry, I changed the title because I thought it read like the women had died! One has to wonder about the human animal conflict, is it getting out of hand…are humans building too close to where these predators live? Or are they blaming it on the coyotes as a red herring…Although I love nature, I certainly wouldn’t want to live that close. I think we don’t give wild animals the respect they deserve, after all some do live in what could be called…their local restaurant!”

TRAIL — A starving cougar that walked into the home of a woman and attacked her while she sat in her living room is now dead.

The woman was in her house with a number of puppies when the cougar walked in through an open door and attacked her on the sofa,” Trail RCMP Sgt. Rob Hawton said of the weekend incident.

With the help of her dog, the woman fought the cougar off and chased it out of the house. She received a couple of minor injuries to her upper leg from the cougar’s claws.

The cougar was gone by the time police arrived. But the animal was tracked down and destroyed Monday.

Hawton said the cougar was gone before officers arrived and a subsequent search was not successful. B.C. Conservation officers were called in and the cougar was tracked down and destroyed Monday.

“This is an extremely rare occurrence and was driven by the animal’s desperation for food,” Hawton said.

The cougar is believed to have been too weak from starvation to hunt normally.

Earlier this month, the president of the Trail Wildlife Association, Terry Hanik, raised the alarm of a rise in predators in the region.

Hanik said cougars and wolves were pushing into the area, adding their numbers to the huge number of coyotes already plaguing the back country and eroding the deer population, forcing predators to look into more settled areas where deer have been thriving for years.

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“Though this won’t help the lady that was attacked, hopefully it can give some help as to what to do if one see’s one.”

Published on 24 Jul 2012 by 

If a cougar sighting occurs in your community–or if you are a member of the media and need expert information and sound bites for your newscast from an expert on cougars– this press kit by Predator Defense is for you. It includes sound bites, b-roll and photographs of cougars. Feel free to download and use these media elements to alert your local media and/or round out your news story. All we ask is that you credit Predator Defense for the clips that you use.

For more information on cougars, please visit:

Contact: Brooks Fahy – Executive Director of Predator Defense

You can download this video to your computer using free software from this website:


Cougar killed by OPP likely an escaped captive animal

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HUNTSVILLE, ONT.Ontario Provincial Police shot and killed a cougar on the weekend after it mauled a dog in a Muskoka town, an incident that provincial officials are calling “extremely rare.”

The attack occurred Saturday night in Utterson, southwest of Huntsville, at a home across the road from Guha’s Tiger and Lion Farm, an exotic cats menagerie.

Investigators have not confirmed a link between the attack and Guha’s, but they are “aware” of the zoo, said Jolanta Kowalski, spokesperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The cat’s front claws had been removed, “which usually indicates that it can be an escaped or released captive animal,” she said.

Utterson resident Doreen Rick saw a large cat mauling Indy, her medium-sized shepherd mix, just after 10 p.m. Saturday.

“It dragged it across the lawn and just laid on him and chewed on him,” Rick said.

Rick, who was at home with her grandson’s girlfriend, Cassidy Phillips, phoned the police and immediately closed all the windows.

“It was pretty horrific,” said Phillips. “We had to just watch (the cougar) go at Indy.”

OPP officers arrived shortly and shot the cougar. Indy the dog was still alive but badly injured, so the family put it down, Phillips said.

Const. Maureen Tilson of the Bracebridge OPP detachment said police had been following up on sightings of a large cat for about a week before the attack.

Marvin Zator, Rick’s next-door neighbour, spotted the large cat about a week ago and thought it was a bobcat. If the cougar was indeed a released pet, he wants the owner held responsible.

“Everybody around here has pets, grandkids or both,” Zator said.

Calls to Guha’s Tiger and Lion Farm Monday were not returned.

Kowalski stressed that cougar sightings are “extremely rare” in Ontario, and that people need not be fearful.

The animal’s carcass will undergo testing and DNA analysis this week.

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Santa Monica police consider wildlife response policy changes

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After meeting with animal welfare advocates over the killing of a mountain lion last month, the Santa Monica Police Department said it would consider changing procedures for handling wildlife incidents.

After Santa Monica police drew criticism for killing a mountain lion, the department announces that it will work to avoid such an outcome in future incidents.

In a statement released last week, the department said it was committed to training first responders and to developing a list of local consulting experts. It said it would also seek appropriate equipment and tools and support ongoing efforts to reduce the likelihood that wildlife would enter densely populated urban areas. But the department added that state law limits what police officers, scientists or veterinarians can do to control the animals.

“The only thing law enforcement can do with a mountain lion is kill it,” said police Sgt. Richard Lewis. Under the law, which prohibits the hunting of mountain lions, the state Department of Fish and Game is responsible for tranquilizing mountain lions, also known as pumas. Lewis said the law would have to be changed to allow local veterinarians, animal control officers or others “closer to home” to tranquilize the animals. He added that such a change would be unlikely.

The suggestions for altering protocol for wildlife incidents grew out of a June 25 meeting the Police Department held with animal rights activists, veterinarians, national and state park representatives, and officials from the Department of Fish and Game.

“The group’s participants readily acknowledged that, although public safety must be the primary consideration under such circumstances, the safe capture of wildlife is a valued response,” Lewis wrote. He added that participants agreed successful captures were elusive “when wild animals are encountered in urban settings.”

That was the case May 22, when a 3-year-old male mountain lion meandered into the heart of Santa Monica and came face to face with the janitor of an office complex. The man alerted authorities.

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Santa Monica Police Killed Offspring of Rare Puma

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The DNA test results released Thursday of the young male mountain lion shot and killed by Santa Monica police conclude that the animal was linked to a population of big cats generally found north of the Ventura (101) Freeway.

Biologists speculate the three-year-old, 95-pound lion may have been the offspring of a cat known as Puma 12, or P-12 — the only lion documented as successfully crossing the 101, according to a release. The cat’s wayward travels into a courtyard of a building near the Third Street Promenade may be indicative of “dispersal” behavior, said biologists, during which young adult male lions search for new territory to escape threats from larger males or to find a mate. Perhaps the cat was simply looking for love in all the wrong places.

Urban wildlife expert with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Seth Riley noted dispersal movements can be critical for animal populations penned-in by geography and development, such as those enclosed by the 101 and 405 freeways. Restricted populations reportedly suffer from a lack of genetic diversity caused by inbreeding as well as significant genetic defects.

Animal rights activists have heavily criticized police for shooting the young lion on May 22, claiming officials’ use of pepper balls and water hoses frightened and agitated the animal after it was shot with a tranquilizer dart. Police said the balls were fired on the ground to keep the puma from fleeing the courtyard into a populated area, and water was sprayed on glass doors to render them opaque to thwart the animal from leaping through them. Police also claim that efforts to contain the animal using harmless means failed and shot the animal when it tried to flee from the courtyard. Animal rights advocates called for an investigation into the shooting and staged a protest of the slaying on May 30.

City News Service reports that Santa Monica Police Department officials will meet later this month with representatives from 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, Cal State Channel Islands and veterinarians specializing in large animals “to explore viable alternatives in an effort to prepare for any future incident,” according to Sgt. Richard Lewis.

Earlier this month Lewis noted, “Due to the fact that there are no reported instances in recent history (30 plus years) regarding a mountain lion within the city limits, the Santa Monica Police Department is formulating a unique approach to address the concerns associated with this unusual occurrence.”

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No charges in death of dog killed by a cougar that broke free of his enclosure

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BROOKSVILLE — State officials say they won’t take any action against Brooksville resident Ronald Gard after Gard’s cougar killed a neighboring beagle that wandered into the property.

The cougar, Charlie, which was in a special section of its enclosure during a morning feeding, broke out of the wired cage and bit the dog. The bite to the head killed the dog, Fester. Charlie remained near the enclosure until Gard, 73, led it into a barn by a rope leash attached to his collar. “What if that had been a child that wandered onto the property? Nobody should be allowed to own big cats as pets, their not meant to be pets, they are wild animals… its just an accident waiting to happen!”

An investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission showed that because the incident took place at Gard’s residence and the dog agitated the cougar, Charlie was not at fault.

“The enclosure met and exceeded present state standards for that type of animal,” Gary Morse of FWC said. Since the incident on May 27, Charlie’s enclosure has been reinforced. Gard also holds the proper license to own the cougar.

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