MICHIGAN: Cougar confirmed in Berrien County|jon_downes|jon@cfz.org.uk|01/03/06 at 21:01:42|jon_downes|xx|0|86.143.199.174|From the South Bend (IN) Tribune: 10 Dec. 2005
Cougar confirmed in Berrien County
Officials urge residents to keep pets inside if possible.
JEFF ROMIG

A cougar is officially roaming Berrien County.

A doctor from the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy confirmed Friday that it was
a large cat, and not a dog or coyote, that mauled a horse in Watervliet the
weekend after Thanksgiving.

"It's as airtight as you can get in my opinion," Dr. Patrick Rusz, director
of Wildlife Programs said following a necropsy that was performed on the
horse Friday.

Earlier in the afternoon, Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey had conveyed
the same conclusion.

"It's definitely a cat," he said.

Earlier this week, Berrien County Animal Control Manager Val Grimes issued a
warning to Berrien County residents of the possibility that a mountain lion
or cougar was on the loose.

She said there had been "all kinds" of sightings and rumors of some sort of
large cat in the area over the past year, but nothing was confirmed until
officials saw the damage done to this horse.

County officials are urging residents with outdoor pets or livestock to put
them inside if at all possible.

"We need everyone to pay attention," Grimes said on Dec. 5. "If they can get
them in, get them in."

She said animals should be in barns at night, and pets should not be allowed
to run loose at any time.

Rusz said they determined that it was a cougar because of the bite marks on
the horse.

He said at least six of them went through the bone and another eight were
"fairly deep," ripping at least 1 3/4 inches into the horse, which he said
is consistent to the length of a typical cougar fang.

"It's definitely not a dog or a coyote," Rusz said.

||01/03/06 at 21:01:59|jon_downes