NAPA (AP) — The fatal shooting of a young mountain lion in Northern California that was part of a research project has set off angry criticism and left a family defending its actions.

The Press Democrat reports Tuesday the mountain lion was trapped last week and fitted with an electronic collar as part of an Audubon Canyon Ranch research project.

Alejandra Calderon says her husband killed the cougar Saturday as it preyed on their sheep. She said she also feared for the safety of their three young children.

The newspaper reports the family has received hateful social media comments and gawkers have parked on their road to record video.

Biologist Quinton Martins, who runs the research program, says that owners should keep domestic animals enclosed and secured, especially at night.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.

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