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Cougar tranquilized inside office after video shows officers chasing it

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A 113-pound mountain lion was tranquilized Tuesday after it wandered into an industrial park and entered an office building in Southern California, police and wildlife officials said. Dramatic video showed the cat racing through the area and officers chasing the animal outside a business window, CBS Los Angeles reported.

The mountain lion was at the property in Irvine when it was spooked by something and ran through an open door into the building, said Rebecca Barboza, a biologist with the California Fish and Wildlife Department.

People inside the building were able to scramble out, but the big cat had no way of leaving and was tranquilized, Barboza said.

“Never had such a wild encounter like that,” witness Claire Leenerts told CBS Los Angeles. “It was very scary.”

In a pun-filled Facebook post, the Irvine Police Department said their “claw-enforcement officers” were dispatched to the scene.

“The lion ran towards the shopping center nearly causing a fur-enzy as it is uncommon for a mountain lion to be seen in Irvine,” the department posted alongside images of the sedated cat. “Thankfully our officers are not scaredy cats and purr-sued the big kitty into a business area.”

CBS Los Angeles reported that after animal control and law enforcement officers initially failed to sedate the mountain lion, the cat ran into Morse Micro Office.

“When I first looked up, I saw a cat hit the door, hit the partition, and wander through,” employee Mark Waterhouse told the station.

The animal was also seen racing outside a hair salon — and running straight into the shop’s glass, the Orange County Register reported.

“I was standing at the front desk and a client says, ‘Oh my God,’ said Elliot Matthews, an employee at Bishops Cuts and Colors, told the newspaper. “All I saw at first was this big thing and a tail.”

The animal was transported to a veterinary clinic to be checked out and tagged for future tracking, officials said.

The mountain lion will be released in a habitat with plenty of space, a water source, and near deer, the Register reported.

The department does not give specific locations for where they release animals, for the animal’s safety.

Last weekend, a different cougar, one that had already been tagged, was spotted taking a swim in Orange County’s Lake Mission Viejo after spending some time outside a nearby home, the Register said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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