A mountain lion hit and killed as it crossed Highway 101 near Buellton early Tuesday morning was partially dismembered, officials report.
According to the California Highway Patrol, its front paws were sawed off after officers responded to calls of the full-grown dead cat on the shoulder of the road. The officers, hearing that California Department of Fish and Game personnel were four hours away, had dragged the body into nearby brush and left the scene.
CHP spokesperson Danny Maher said that an area news station reported the initial road hazard just after 5 a.m. and guessed that someone who heard the broadcast “figured they would go out to the scene and collect a trophy.”
Fish and Game’s Web site states that the mutilation of a dead specimen of the protected species is illegal, a misdemeanor offense punishable by fines and/or jail time. The Animal Rescue Team and Mountain Lion Foundation are offering a $1,500 reward for information leading to the prosecution of those responsible.