PETALUMA (KPIX) -- Wildlife agencies alongside Petaluma police are on alert after a mountain lion that was spotted several times over the past 24 hours. One homeowner, not far from downtown Petaluma, managed to catch the animal on his home security cameras. Even he can't believe the video.
"Yeah, it was amazing," Joe Luchok says of the Wednesday morning encounter. "My wife saw it initially, out in the street, from the window, and thought it was a giant dog. Called 911 instantly."
Seeing the cat in the street was the first surprise. Then Luchock checked his home security camera, and there it was, strolling through his backyard.
"It looked like he was going to go out the gate, but the gate was shut," Joe Luchok says. "So he came walking this way down the side of the house and climbed over the fence."
"It's both beautiful and scary, right," says Ken Paglia of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. "They are amazing creatures, they are beautiful. At the same time, we know innately that a mountain lion is a dangerous creature."
Fish and Wildlife is working with local law enforcement in case the animal resurfaces. Paglia says sightings this close to open space are not uncommon, especially in the summer months.
"It's just that time of year," he says. "It's the time of year when young, male mountain lions get pushed out by their mothers and they have to find new territory."
"When it walked around here, the back was pretty much about right there," Luchok says, gauging the cat's size against a yard fixture. "So it was huge."
Luchock can barely believe what walked through here, or that he caught it so clearly. He says the visit was a bit of a scare and a thrill.
"Intensely beautiful," he says. "So I sent the video around just in hopes that people would see it and realize that mountain lions are out there and we have to be aware. I've lived here for 20 years. Never seen one, always wanted to see one. Lo and behold I had one in my backyard and out front."
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