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October 1, 2023

Authorities report ‘large cat’ sighting was suspected mountain lion

Authorities reported a suspected mountain lion sighting Sunday night near the high school.
San Benito County Sheriff’s deputies received a call around 8 p.m. reporting that a group of youths saw a “large cat” running in the river bed near the campus, according to a sheriff’s office spokesman.
Hollister Police Chief David Westrick elaborated and said a police department officer was contacted by the sheriff’s office about the incident, after which he posted a description of it on Facebook.
“I guess either a student or somebody threw a rock at it and it went back into the river bed,” Westrick said.
A high school official said it was near the agriculture barn on campus.
“Police Chief Westrick alerted us there was a sighting late yesterday evening near the agricultural building,” said John Perales, the superintendent for the San Benito High School District, on Tuesday. “It only makes sense because before the fair season, it’s full of pigs and sheep and I guess that’s like a smorgasbord for a mountain lion.”
Perales alerted the school staff of the incident by email and asked them to share the information with students. He also shared the police chief’s recommendations for how to react to a mountain lion.
Some of those tips include: Stay calm, do not approach a lion, do not run from a lion, do not crouch down, try to appear intimidating and fight back if it attacks.
To see the city’s mountain lion tips, go here.

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