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By Miriam Raftery


November 3, 2010 (Spring Valley) – Yesterday Paul and Deanna Stevens informed East County Magazine that they believe that a mountain lion is responsible for recent animal attacks on Steele Canyon Road in Spring Valley, not far from Steele Canyon High School.


“A week ago, a large turkey of ours was taken over our five-feet high chain link fence and partly eaten in our neighbor’s yard,” an email from the couple stated. “ I just saw my neighbor’s dog who was attacked three days ago by some feline like animal. I attached a picture of the claw marks. We definitely have mountain lions on Steele Canyon Road.” The couple said they reported the incidents to Fish and Game.


However Andrew Hughan with California Fish and Game said that the attack could have been the work of a coyote.  He said coyotes have attacked even large dogs and that jumping over fences is common.  No sightings of mountain lions have been reported recently in the Spring Valley area, he added.

If you have confirmations of recent mountain lion sightings in the Steele Canyon area or elsewhere in East County,  please contact


Mountain lions can roam up to 200 miles. One lion was tracked via radio collar from beach areas in the Oceanside area to rural regions of East County.


Lions have been spotted in the Steele Canyon area in the past. In 2005, Jamacha Elementary School near Steele Canyon was placed on lockdown due to a sighting close to the campus—one of ten mountain lion sightings in a brief time period, the Union-Tribune reported at the time.


Do you know what to do if you ever encountered a mountain lion? offers tips on how to protect yourself against an attack.


• Avoid hiking alone, especially between dusk and dawn, when lions are most active.

• Make a lot of noise when hiking so you won't surprise a lion.

• Keep children close when hiking in mountain lion country; most mountain lion attacks are made against children.

• Keep pets on leashes while hiking.

• Avoid approaching a mountain lion if you see one in the distance -- it may just be curious about you. Most lions avoid confrontation, so give it an opportunity to slip away.

• Be prepared for a possible attack if a mountain lion is nearby, staring at you aggressively and crouching or hiding.

• Stay calm and don't run if you're faced with a possible attack. Take out any weapons or deterrents (such as pepper spray), or look around for rocks and sticks.

• Raise your hands or hold things above your head to make yourself appear larger. Pick children up off the ground, but don't crouch or bend over if you can help it.

• Talk or yell loudly and slowly back away, maintaining eye contact with the mountain lion.

• Fight back aggressively with weapons and deterrents if you're attacked, all the while trying to remain standing.

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I hope Fish and Game re-think

I hope Fish and Game re-think their theory, because I have never seen a coyote have the mannerisms of a feline. Felines, whether or not they are domesticated or wild tend to swipe at other animals rather than bite.

Mountain Lion at Jamacha

In light of the sighting at Jamacha Elementary today, I wonder if Fish and Game is rethinking the coyote theory?