Hide your pets! Hide your children! An unidentified animal is lurking around the city of Norwalk, a suburb of Los Angeles, California. For several days, a mysterious animal has been taunting the city, frightening some of the residents.
The animal was caught on a resident’s security surveillance video camera in the wee hours the morning of July 29. They immediately turned it over to officials who then verified it was not a hoax, and then posted a warning on The City Of Norwalk’s Facebook page.
KTLA News reported that City Manager Jeff Hobbs had spoken with an “undisputed expert” at The California Department of Fish and Wildlife who determined the animal in the video is no mountain lion. Hobbs revealed this information on the city’s Facebook page and continued to tell residents that the department officials cannot definitively identify the type of animal, and that they will continue to investigate.
Below that post, one resident commented a reply per CNN, “Don’t know what’s scarier, that it was a mountain lion, or that ‘Department officials still cannot definitively identify the type of animal.'”
Regardless, concern is rising as this animal continues to roam the city streets, causing the police and sheriff’s deputies to increase their patrols throughout Norwalk. The city is approximately 20 miles from typical foothill mountain lion habitat.
Officials are also continuing to inform residents on what they should do if the animal is spotted — posting on their Facebook:
“If you spot a mountain lion, or any other wild animal in your neighborhood, contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Southern Regional Enforcement Office in Los Alamitos: 562-598-1032, or SEAACA Animal Control: 562-803-3301.”
Maybe the first thing they should do is run the opposite direction, then make that phone call.
After reviewing the video footage, Joel Almquist, executive director and founder of the Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary, which houses one lioness, told Los Angeles Times he believes it is a leopard. “The cat’s movement, height of 22 to 24 inches…and noting its movement indicate it is a leopard.”
Yet, another expert, Dale Anderson who is the executive director and founder of the Project Survival Cat Haven in Dunlap, California believes the animal to be an African lion, based on its gait and physical characteristics, as he informs Los Angeles Times.
Fearful for their pets and children per CNN, one neighbor, VIvian Romero says, “It doesn’t belong here. What’s it doing here?”
Anderson said a lion on the loose would probably have been kept as a pet. There are strict rules for owners of exotic animals, so he believes that would be a rare incidence. He tells Los Angeles Times:
“If a lion is out there like that, it shouldn’t be happening,”
Other neighbors believe it to be a harmless old, aging dog. Resident Chai Harter tells ABC News:
“It’s a big, gray dog. It looks kind of like a Rottweiler or a Pit bull and it just kind of goes through the neighborhood digging up trees and goes on about its business.”
Anything is possible, evidently. ABC News reported that just last year 911 calls were made in Virginia from people stating there was a lion walking down the street. Upon investigation, it was discovered to be a” bizarrely-coiffed labradoodle named Charles the Monarch.”
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