SANTA MONICA (CBS) — Animal rights activists want an investigation into the killing of a mountain lion found roaming near the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

The 3-year-old mountain lion was spotted by a janitor about 6 a.m. Tuesday in the courtyard of a building on Second Street, south of Wilshire Boulevard.

Santa Monica police officers and state Department of Fish and Game wardens responded and made several attempts to subdue the animal.

“We deployed less-lethal pepper ball, we deployed fire hoses and the animal continued to charge in (an) attempt to flee out of the courtyard,” Santa Monica police Lt. Robert Almada said. “Regrettably, the animal was euthanized in order to protect public safety.”

Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, said her organization was “dismayed” by the killing of the mountain lion. Bernstein wants an investigation “into the procedures and training protocols required for safely interacting (with) and subduing wildlife.”

“Basically, they agitated and frightened a cornered cat before they killed her,” Bernstein said. “Hosing a mountain lion down and then shooting (it) with pepper balls only served to make her more frenzied. Deadly force should be used only as a last resort. The citizens and wildlife of California deserve better.”

Its unclear exactly how the animal, which weighed about 75 pounds, wound up in the courtyard, far from its home in the Santa Monica mountains.

Santa Monica police Lt. Calisse Lindsey said it was the first time she could remember such an incident in her 24 years in the department.

State wildlife officials said a necropsy would be done on the animal.

»RELATED STORY: Officials Kill Young Mountain Lion Spotted In Santa Monica

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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