California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a landmark bill into law ten months after two mountain lion cubs were shot and killed in a Half Moon Bay neighborhood.
Senate Bill 132 prevents the Department of Fish and Wildlife from killing lions that wander into neighborhoods unless they pose an urgent threat to public safety. Now, the Department is allowed to work with wildlife groups using non-lethal options to capture and re-locate the animals.
That's exactly what happened last year when the Department tranquilized a wayward 130 pound mountain lion in a Santa Barbara neighborhood after it was spotted in someone's backyard. The lion was eventually released back into the wild.
The incident in Half Moon Bay sparked outrage among activists and the public. Wardens, who said they were concerned about public safety, killed two house cat-sized cubs, believed to have been orphaned siblings.
Animal activist Julia DiSieno of The Animal Rescue Team in Solvang is praising the new law saying the Half Moon Bay incident was senseless. DiSieno says she barely escaped prosecution after she rescued two orphaned cubs in Solvang four years ago. DiSieno says she was interrogated and read her Miranda Rights.
But, now she has the law on her side. Wardens are required to capture or scare off a mountain lion unless public safety is in jeopardy.