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Killing of Mountain Lion

March 16, 1997

* Re "Killing of Mountain Lion," Letters to the Valley Edition, March 9, and "Mountain Lion Killed in Backyard," Feb. 26.

The letters about this issue make me ill. The readers who are so anti-Department of Fish and Game policy need to put that mountain lion in their backyard, then put their backyard in the midst of a populous suburban housing tract filled with preschoolers playing in many of the tract's backyards.

The cat would not be treed. A cat tranquilized in a tree stays in the tree while the tranquilizer takes effect. A cat tranquilized on the ground runs. I was one of the sheriff's deputies who spent more than two hours following a tranquilized black bear as it meandered through an open wash area and we waited for the tranquilizers to take effect.

This was not an option with this mountain lion. This cat had nowhere to go but into someone else's backyard. I wouldn't want to be the warden or deputy who chased this cat from backyard to backyard, only to find a mauled child or adult.

To all the critics, I say, "You weren't there!" Deputy sheriff or game warden can be difficult jobs, sometimes requiring very difficult decisions.

KEVIN KUYKENDALL

Santa Clarita

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