Gilroy Police Morph Into Animal Trackers Overnight

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    (Photo by Mike Simons/Getty Images)

    A mountain lion made for some scary moments in Gilroy overnight.  The big cat was eventually found and "guided" out of town with a pepper ball launcher.   The last sighting had the creature walking into the wilderness, but no one is saying that he is guaranteed to stay there.

    Over a five hour period there were three sightings in the city putting the public, police and animal control officers on alert.

    The first sighting happened around 11 p.m. on the 500 block of Stoney Court.

    Someone called 911 after seeing a dog-sized mountain lion in an apartment complex parking lot.

    By the time Officers arrived the animal had left the area headed toward the 6th Street overpass of Highway 101/

    Fast forward to 3 a.m. and police got another report that the animal was in the area of Mantelli and Wren.

    A few minutes later it was reported on the 500 block of Tatum.  That sighting did the trick. Officers found the lion just before 4 a.m.

    Because it was not aggressive, they decided to help it get out of a populated area with the use of a pepper ball launcher.  They shot toward the animal and basically forced it out of the area.

    Gilroy police then contacted fish and game.  They were on their way to Gilroy Monday morning to access the situation.  They also put schools in the area on alert to watch out for mountain lions.

    A pepper ball launcher is similar to a paintball launcher. It  launches small spheres filled with Capsaicin, which is dried pepper powder.

    By coincedence, San Mateo County residents are getting a chance this week to get a  glimpse into the lives of the mountain  lion.

    Bay City News says Wednesday, the Peninsula Humane Society is hosting an event  titled "Mountain Lions: Elusive Residents of the Bay Area" to help people  understand the role of the cats in the region's ecosystem.

    You'll get a brief history of the relationship between  people and mountain lions in California, and offer tips on coexisting safely  with the animals.

    The event starts at 7 p.m. at 12 Airport Blvd. A $5 donation  is suggested.