Chicago cougar killed|shearluck||05/02/08 at 16:01:46|shearluck|xx|0||Cougar shot, killed on North Side

Jeremy Manier, Tina Shah and Jeremy Gorner | Tribune reporters
8:35 PM CDT, April 14, 2008

A 150-pound cougar was shot and killed Monday evening in the Roscoe Village neighborhood on Chicago's North Side, Chicago police said.

The incident occurred around 6 p.m. in an alley near North Hamilton Avenue and West Roscoe Street, according to officials.

Police cornered the cougar in the back yard of Ben Greene, 39, who lives on the 3400 block of North Hoyne. Greene said he heard a volley of gunfire shortly before 6 p.m. as he was bathing his 10-month-old son. His wife, Kate, ran upstairs screaming with their 3-year-old son, and they all took cover in a back room.

"At first I'm thinking there's a gun battle in the street," said Greene, who owns a trucking company.

As the shots stopped Greene heard the police yelling, "We got him! We got him!" Greene ventured downstairs and moved on his knees to the front door, where he saw police on his lawn. The officers had shot holes in an air conditioning unit on the side of Greene's house while aiming for the cougar, which died near Greene's garage.

Belmont District Capt. Mike Ryan said the cougar tried to attack the officers when they tried to contain it.

"It was turning on the officers," Ryan said, adding that no officers were hurt. "There was no way to take it into custody." Greene said he agreed with the police decision to kill the cougar.

"As far as I witnessed they did a pretty good job," Greene said. "Hypothetically, if there were kids in the yard and the cougar jumps in, what would the cougar have done?"

"It was obviously a pretty traumatic experience for the kids," Greene said. "At first it was a little nutty."

Mark Rosenthal, operations manager for the Chicago Commission on Animal Care and Control, said his office had been following up on various reports of cougar sightings all day. Residents in the area said Animal Care and Control workers had been combing the neighborhood since 9 a.m.

Rosenthal said he did not know if the cougar shot was the same animal spotted recently in the northern suburbs.

He said the animal was not wearing a collar or an ID tag.

Frank Hirschmann, 50, in the 3500 block of North Seeley Avenue, saw the animal pass by his home.

"I was sitting on the porch, and all of a sudden he crossed the street, and hurdled a six-foot fence like nothing," Hirschmann said. He said he then ran into his house and watched police chase the cougar on foot.

Hirschmann described it as tan, 4 feet tall and 6 feet long. "It was amazing and scary," he said.

Greene's neighbor, Romeo Dorazio, had just gotten home from dinner when he heard about 10 gunshots.

"I knew it was really nearby. I walked to the window and saw a cougar," said Dorazio. "It was the freakiest thing I ever saw.",1,5227121.story
||05/02/08 at 20:45:24|shearluck Re: Chicago cougar killed|shearluck||05/02/08 at 20:45:44|shearluck|xx|0||From the Riverside/Brookfield (IL) Landmark: 16 April 2008
What you haven't read about the cougar in Chicago
Police spray cougar—and neighborhood—with bullets
By TOM MANNIS, Contributing Reporter

Too much and not enough. That's what some residents of Roscoe Village are saying about Monday night's shooting by Chicago police officers of a cougar in a neighborhood alley.
Two elements in the strange animal tale on the city's North side concern neighbors in Roscoe Village. Some say that Animal Care and Control did not respond quickly enough, while others feel that police may have overreacted by "shooting up the neighborhood."
The big cat was first spotted at about 7:30 Monday morning by a teacher at Audubon Elementary School, half a block north of where Chicago police shot and killed the cougar 10 hours later. According to Principal John Price, one of his staff saw the cougar in an alley just east of the school, behind the 3600 block of North Hoyne.
"We called 911 at 7:30," Price said, "and about an hour later, three animal control officers came to the school and spoke with us." Price could not say what the animal control officers did after they left Audubon Elementary.
Marylou Kovak is a neighbor who says police overreacted once the cat was spotted again, later in the afternoon. She and her fiancé live at 3427 N. Hamilton Ave., west of the alley. Kovak says her fiancé, Michael Reynolds, had an unobstructed view of the shooting as he worked at his computer by the rear window, which overlooks the alley where the cougar was killed. Kovak did not see the shooting itself, she says, but said Reynolds did.
"Michael said the cougar was just cowering there," Kovak told Booster. "My fiancé said it seemed afraid." According to Kovak, Reynolds said that about "20 uniformed police officers were lined up" to contain the cougar into a small parking area just off of the alley. "Michael said about six or seven officers opened fire on the cougar." Kovak saw the police just before and just after the shooting.
"It felt like every officer in the 19th District was here," she said. The cougar was killed just before 5:30 in the afternoon.
Another neighbor, Eric Cartier, tells a similar story. He and his roommate were at home at 3420 N. Hoyne Ave. at 5:30 p.m. According to Cartier, "a lot of police" swarmed out of the alley just west of his home. "We heard police shouting for people to get inside, get inside," Cartier said, "then we heard some gunshots."


From the Chicago Sun Times: 17 April 2008
Is another cougar on the prowl?

An hour after a 122-pound cougar was fatally shot in Chicago, two joggers spotted a big cat as they followed a path around the Skokie Lagoons.

Minutes later on Monday night, a Cook County Forest Preserve police officer patrolling nearby also saw what he believed was a cougar at the southwest corner of the heavily wooded, 1,400-acre park.

Those sightings -- along with another there Tuesday -- prompted an intensive helicopter search Wednesday that turned up no indications of a second Chicago-area cougar. "It was all coyotes, deer and waterfowl -- no signs of big cats,'' said biologist Chris Anchor, one of the airborne searchers.

Investigators are still trying to determine if the cougar shot Monday by police was an escaped pet or a wild animal that wandered into the area -- possibly from South Dakota, the nearest location where the predators live naturally.

A tissue sample was sent to the U.S Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station in Missoula, Mont., for DNA testing to help determine in more detail the cougar's life story.

Joe Kath, Illinois Department of Natural Resources endangered species project manager, said he's unconvinced the cougar was wild.

"It's very difficult from a biological perspective to see a wild animal like that seeking out the Chicago area," he said.


From the Lake County (IL) News-Sun: 18 April 2008
Abbott guard sights cougar

Lake County may have a cougar at large.

A security guard at Abbott Laboratories reported seeing a cougar in the area of Buckley and Waukegan roads Thursday morning. The sighting in the business park near Waukegan was reported to sheriff's police at 4:30 a.m.

Deputies searched the area for about 40 minutes but did not see anything, sheriff's Sgt. Christopher Thompson said.

Chicago police shot and killed a cougar in the Roscoe Village neighborhood Monday afternoon. In previous weeks, residents in Wilmette, North Chicago and Round Lake Park reported seeing a large cat-like animal.