Cougar caught in Utah backyard
Police and animal control officers subdued a cougar that was spotted in a northeast Orem neighborhood Monday morning.
Startled residents began calling police about the cougar about 5 a.m. Officers searched the area for hours before tracking the animal down in a backyard after the resident there called police, said Orem police Lt. Craig Martinez.
"It’s been quite exciting," said Karen Jeffs, who called police about 9:30 a.m. after she spotted the cougar on her fence at 476 N. 950 East.
The cougar was in the backyard to the north of Jeffs’ house when an official from the Division of Wildlife Resources shot it with a tranquilizer dart.
"Our biologist made a fantastic shot," said DWR spokesman Scott Root.
The cougar leapt onto Jeffs’ fence and darted across her lawn before it collapsed in the backyard to the south after succumbing to the tranquilizer. Police and animal control officers moved the cougar into a cage and loaded it into a DWR truck about 11 a.m.
The cougar was probably young and didn’t know to avoid coming so far into town, Root said.
"It just ended up in a place where it shouldn’t have been," Root said. "That’s something a younger cougar has been known to do over the years."
Root said DWR officials will assess the cougar to decide whether it should be released or euthanized.
"Sometimes if a cougar is in bad physical shape, that’d be one reason we might want to do the humane thing and put it down," Root said. "But it seemed like it was doing fairly well."