Police were called to the 5000 block of Newport Avenue at about 1:20 a.m. after the pup made its way over a beach sea wall and was seen crawling under parked cars. When officers arrived, the tiny pinniped was making its way up an alley toward a parking structure.
"The main concern was that, one, the animal could bite a citizen if in fact it was approached, and then secondly, the animal could theoretically have been hit by a vehicle had a driver not seen it as it was wandering through the streets," said San Diego police Sgt. Salvador Hurtado.
Several residents used a couple of pieces of wooden lattice to create a makeshift pen. They corralled the sea lion on the sidewalk until a SeaWorld rescue crew arrived. Eric Otjen, a member of the SeaWorld rescue team, lives close by. He was able to get the pup into a dog kennel that a woman brought to the scene from her home.
"We're going to take him back to SeaWorld. We'll get him the help he needs, a little bit of fish and stuff, and get him nice and fat and chubby and then he'll go back out into the ocean," Otjen said.