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‘Cougar!’ cried the Hayward neighborhood alerter

“Hello. This is the Hayward Police Department with an important safety message. We are currently working with the California Department of Fish and Game and the Union City Police Department to contain a mountain lion in the Chapel of the Chimes Cemetery. … The mountain lion has not been aggressive; however, we are taking precautions to help ensure the safety of residents in the surrounding areas. If you see a mountain lion, do not attempt to approach it. Get everyone indoors and call 9-1-1.”

So went an autodialer message to residents in southeast Hayward on Thursday, after a resident spotted — and an officer confirmed — a cougar walking the tree line adjacent to the cemetery.

Such sightings are not uncommon.  Police opted to take the precaution of letting residents know about the animal, which turned out to be a scaredy cat and ran off into the hills when given a bit of attention.

Thus, this, a couple hours after the first message:

“Hello. This is the Hayward Police Department with an important update. The mountain lion has been safely returned to his natural habitat in the hills. You may resume normal activities.”

Police advise residents who spot a mountain lion to get indoors and call 9-1-1. If you are the type who ventures into neighboring lion country (a.k.a. our regional parks and all that hilly open space to the east) here’s a Fish and Game brochure on the subject.

Eric Kurhi