Tulare neighbors surprised to find mountain lion roaming through their front yards

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was the talk of Tulare this weekend. A mountain lion was seen roaming neighborhoods on Saturday night.

Steve Facchini first heard about it on a friend's Facebook page, and he couldn't believe it.

"And then all of a sudden I'm getting phone calls and texts from my police officer buddies who are here, who know where I live, and they're going hey man it's right here in your backyard," he said.

So Facchini, a Tulare City fire captain, came home in the fire engine.

He told his wife and neighbors to put their animals inside, and they watched as police cornered the big cat at the house on the corner.

"It was the hottest ticket in town. If I could have sold tickets, I'd be rich right now," Facchini laughed.

"We were able to kind of contain it without antagonizing it, and then we just waited for Fish and Game to arrive, and they handled their business," said Sgt. Eddie Hinojosa.

Fish and Wildlife game wardens and a biologist tranquilized the animal, but it didn't end there.

Jaden Wade Borges took a video showing the mountain lion running west and hopping some fences.

When the tranquilizer took effect, he lied down for a cat nap in front of a home.

"It's hard to believe that a cat that big and that size could make it from the hills to the Valley floor, to the city of Tulare of all places," Facchini said.

Police say they still don't know how the animal ended up in Tulare. They say it could have been hungry and made the long trek, or it's possible it was someone's pet, and it got out.

Regardless, Fish and Wildlife released it into the wild on Sunday, after monitoring it overnight.

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Video from California Department of Fish and Wild shows the cat heading back into the forest.

"It was a good conclusion to an unordinary story. You know I don't recall ever hearing of a wild cat or mountain lion in the city of Tulare," Hinojosa said. "I think there was an incident with a bear a few years back, but this is the first mountain lion call we've ever had to handle."

Fish and wildlife believe the mountain lion is two or three-years-old and between 80 to 100 pounds.

No one was harmed, including the cat, during his visit to the Valley.
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