Search is on for north suburban cougar

March 31, 2008 4:03:58 PM PDT
A search is underway for a cougar that has been spotted roaming suburban North Chicago since last Friday. Police have received at least three calls from people who saw the large animal.

"The head of this animal, well, you see stuff like that in the zoo. It was huge," said Officer Steven Shilata, North Chicago Police.

Shilata says his brush with the cougar was the scariest moment of his career. He was sitting in his squad car last Friday afternoon when the cop became a witness.

"I was just sitting with my head down finishing up a report, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw this huge cat. I didn't know it was a cougar, lion, tiger," said Shilata.

As with any threatening suspect, he got out of the car and took aim while calling his sergeant on the radio.

"He was frantic, you know. It was intense. He asked me for permission to shoot it. I told him negative," said Sgt. Kurt Nash, North Chicago Police.

But the cat had taken off and has yet to be apprehended, although there have been five more sightings. Fifteen-year-old Anthony Scott saw the cougar on top of North Chicago's youth center.

"When we shined the light, his eyes glowed," Scott said.

Elizabeth Morrissey is staying in after she saw a print in her neighbor's yard.

"It was exactly like a horseshoe and there were four or six of them," said Morrissey.

Police are on the case. They describe the perpetrator as being tan, 4 feet tall, 7 feet long, between 250 and 275 pounds, with a brown coat and gray whiskers. Some residents are taking the matter in their own hands.

"I know I can catch him. I'm a hunter. There's not a doubt in my mind," said Melvin Brown, resident.

Everyone here has a theory of where the big cat came from.

"He got away from the zoo."

"I guess the carnival or something. Some truck overturned."

"It could have came from Wisconsin."

We blame everything else on the cheeseheads, why not the cougar? Police believe the animal is still in the area. To protect citizens, North Chicago Police are going to have extra patrols and undercover officers on the case. If you do see the animal, they say please call 9-1-1.

Even though there have been several sightings, the cougar has not injured anyone, and it has not attacked any animals.


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