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Wildlife Sightings on the Rise in California
Date:9/4/2007

California Veterinary Medical Association Urges Home and Pet Owners to

Follow Guidelines to Prevent a Surprise Attack

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Most Californians will never see a mountain lion at their doorstep, but recent encounters between homeowners and wandering wildlife have prompted the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) to calm pet owners' fears with tips on what to do to prevent an attack and how to react if confronted by a wild animal.

"Drier conditions, fire devastation and increased activity this summer have combined to drive animals out of the hills and into populated areas in search of food and water," said Dr. Jeff Smith, president of the CVMA. "People have a natural affinity for animals, but it's important they understand the difference between domesticated pets and wildlife that appear to be friendly and approachable. Under no circumstance should people take action and put their lives at risk in the event of a visit by a wild animal."

Recent incidents of wild animals being visible in close proximately to humans include mountain lions that have attacked small pets near Los Angeles and Sacramento; a mountain lion that attacked a hiker in Humboldt County; and incidents with bears that have become more aggressive in the Lake Tahoe area. Authorities have even responded to calls about male deer attacking dogs.

"People should be aware that even deer, normally seen as docile and shy, may attack humans and pets," said Smith. "As residential areas expand, wild deer become more accustomed to and less fearful of people. When someone gets too close, a buck could panic and gore them, causing serious injury or even death."

The CVMA urges people to keep wildlife at a safe distance at all times and call 9-1-1 to report any sightings of large wild animals such as mountain lions or bears. Among some of the tips offered:

-- Avoid hiking, biking or jogging alone.

-- Never le
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SOURCE California Veterinary Medical Association
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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