Like a lost kitten, a 115-pound mountain lion sought temporary refuge Saturday in the backyard tree of a Mission Viejo home.
But the big cat did not make 24958 Tree Ave. his home for long. A call to the Sheriff's Department brought a helicopter, animal control officers and sheriff's deputies. The cat managed to elude them all for about two hours before Paul Henisey, who lives several houses down the street, saw in a bush what at first looked like "the hindquarters of a big German shepherd dog."
"I saw him look up at me, and I realized it was a mountain lion," Henisey said.
The mountain lion, a young adult male, was tranquilized with a dart from a rifle and taken to the Orange County Animal Shelter in Orange.
The incident has stirred a bit of agitation in the neighborhood, where a handful of residents had been calling county officials for several days to report the presence of a wild animal, said Jack Edwards, the shelter's kennel services chief.