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Man who reported lion may be fined $10K

Original post made on Jul 16, 2008

The man whose reported weekend mountain-lion attack in Palo Alto's Foothills Park was found "unsubstantiated" by state officials may have to pay for the subsequent two-day investigation, Palo Alto police Agent Dan Ryan said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008, 2:52 PM

Comments (17)

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Posted by pay for a report?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2008 at 3:10 pm

You've got to be kidding me! Fining this guy because he reported he was attacked by a mountain lion is ridiculous. If they fine him, the city can forget about anyone ever reporting an attack. This is equivalent to putting a muzzle on folks and saying to the world, hey, we don't want to help.

And then you have to go through forensic tests? Give me a break. Let me be attacked by a lion. I'll never tell the authorities if this is the kind of BS I have to put up with.

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Posted by faked it?
a resident of Woodside
on Jul 16, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Say, PFAR, you ever think that maybe - just maybe - the police know more about the case than the general public does? They must have their reasons for disbelieving him.

This thing looked fishy to me from the start. I still say the guy fell down the hill and had to make up a good story when he got home. Just a hunch.

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Posted by mike
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 16, 2008 at 3:25 pm

He is getting off lightly, filing a false police report is a serious crime.

Who was he frolicking in the woods with and what is his name?

He should be forced to eat spotted owls for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Makes sense to me.

Otherwise, you will get any Tom, Dick or Harry making up stories to tell when they tripped and fell.

After all, who else will pay for the hunt, the PA taxpayers?

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Posted by roar
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 16, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Search ends for African lion roaming east of Colorado Springs
The Gazette
Monday, July 14, 2008

A helicopter, sheriff's deputies and members of the Colorado Division of Wildlife were searching for the animal.
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The search for an African lion on the plains east of Colorado Springs was called off Monday afternoon after reported sightings in the morning caused quite a stir among residents.

But the mystery remains: What is out there?

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office suspended the search about 3 p.m., saying there wasn't enough evidence to corroborate reports of an African lion roaming the area.

Michael Seraphin, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said photos taken by two residents and tracks found by state Division of Wildlife officers confirmed the animal is an African lion and not a cougar.

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Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2008 at 3:58 pm

I think it is the $10,000 they need for the reward. This is one sick City?

I know it was a mistake. bla,bla,bla,babyboomers

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Posted by CP
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jul 16, 2008 at 4:26 pm

I think they should fine the guy AND place his photo and name in the newspaper. What kind of person would do such a thing?! He wasted everyone's time and now there will be people who are scared that a lion exists at the park because they may not have followed up on the story and know that it was a hoax.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 16, 2008 at 4:34 pm

I agree with the police on this one - this man's report to police resulted in widespread publicity, TV coverage, worry, cost to taxpayers...all for nothing?!

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Posted by madeline
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Jul 16, 2008 at 6:23 pm


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Posted by do the math
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2008 at 7:57 pm

"$200 in gas to drive the shirt to a Sacramento laboratory"

That's about 44 gallons at $4.50/gal, it's about 120 miles each way, so 240 miles total. That's about 5 miles per gallon.

What was he driving?

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Posted by Of Course!
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 16, 2008 at 10:18 pm

The thing is, if the tracker had found any mountain lion (and there are a number of them in those hills, which is their home and always has been), the lion would have been shot, and on false pretenses, no less.

To anyone who disagrees that penalizing the man is a bad idea, consider this: If a person claims he or she was mugged on the street and gives false testimony, aren't they normally subject to penalty by law?

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Posted by Curiouser & Curiouser
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 16, 2008 at 10:24 pm

The police must have a pretty strong intuition about this guy and his story, if they're planning to charge him for the investigation. That's not an accusation to make lightly. So let's play a parlor game: What does a person do to get all scraped up, that he cannot tell his family? Obviously it was family who called his bluff by urging him to report the lion attack 24 hours later, and obviously he was ok with telling them he was hiking alone in the park since that's part of the story.

What he couldn't tell them was how he came to get scraped up. A klutzy guy could just say "Honey, I bent down to examine a wild strawberry, and lost my balance." This guy must not be klutzy enough for that one to fly. So what was he REALLY doing to get scraped up? Here are some possibilities:

1) Dragging a body to some remote spot to bury it is a perfect way to get scraped up (and happens all the time, on TV).

2) Tending pot plants. They have to be off trail to be hidden. Steep slope, lose your footing. But why not just tell the wife?

3) Drug deal gone bad, someone pushes him down the bank. But kind of an unlikely place to meet a dealer, on a remote park trail.

4) Combination of 2) and 3). Tending plants, gets interrupted by a competitor who wants his plot, fight ensues. But getting far-fetched.

5) Going off trail with a hot companion. Common form of human misbehavior, but seldom leads to physical injuries. Heat of passion caused them to misjudge the slope and they both tumbled down? So ... find someone in the area with matching scrapes, and mystery solved.

That was fun!

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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 16, 2008 at 11:44 pm

I totally agree with fining this guy for wasting city resources.

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Posted by Mr. OPEC
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2008 at 11:47 pm

"$200 in gas to drive the shirt to a Sacramento laboratory"
That's about 44 gallons at $4.50/gal, it's about 120 miles each way, so 240 miles total. That's about 5 miles per gallon.

What was he driving?

>>> A Dodge 6.7 liter Cummins Turbo Diesel pick-up about 6 mpg

Diesel $5.11 a gallon
Round trip PA to SAC - 270 miles
45 gallons of diesel or about $229.95 for the taxpayers to prove a lie.

We figured close to the same amount.

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Posted by big cat rescuer
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2008 at 6:29 am

No excuse to report an attack that never happened. These animals are threatened enough by lack of habitat.
The guy seems to have been looking for his "5 minutes of fame" at the expense of officials and wildlife. Let this be a lesson to any future publicity seekers.
Anyone who has seen a mountain lion and it's talons would know that the shirt would have been shredded to pieces. Period!

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Posted by Greg K.
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 17, 2008 at 9:22 am

I want to know why the police and the media are protecting this guy's identity. Why isn't his name and address printed in the newspaper? If he wants his 15 minutes of fame (or infamy), just give it to him and get over it.

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Posted by A. Resident
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jul 18, 2008 at 8:42 am

A non-resident using the park, its understandable that he was reluctant to report. Also, if he gave his name and the cat was shot, what would the animal rights people do to to him?

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