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After one llama killed, rancher sets sights on mountain lion

A San Bernardino County woman says the mountain lion blamed for killing her llama should be killed if it returns to her 60-acre ranch in Devore.

The mountain lion was spotted in the area over the weekend and Shelly Smith, who has lived on the Cable Canyon Road ranch for more than 25 years, blames the state's drought for driving the mountain lion down onto her property.

"We're just assuming that he's thirsty and hungry and coming down for that reason, but unfortunately it's terrorizing our property," Smith told NBC-LA.

After hearing screaming sounds a few weeks ago, Smith said she found her llama, "Frosty," dead and another llama that had been bitten. The mountain lion returned later to attack a different animal in the same area, she told the station.

Authorities have no immediate plans to trap and relocate the lion, though Smith said she wants it hot and killed if it comes back. That could be easier said then done, however, since it's difficult to know when the animal will show.

"That's always a problem because you got to go in and unlock the safe to get to the gun and get out there and by that time, he's already mauled whatever he's interested in," Smith said. 

Smith was granted a 10-day depredation permit that expired Feb. 24, according to a representative from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

[For the Record, 1:30 p.m. PST, March 20: An earlier version of this post did not reflect the fact that Smith was granted only a temporary permit -- which is issued only when there is evidence of damage -- to kill the mountain lion. The permit expired Feb. 24.]

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

Twitter: @aribloomekatz

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