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Police shoot wild cougar on the loose in Chicago

April 15, 2008 |  5:42 pm

Chicago_cougar_2

Chicago residents today were puzzled, to say the least, by how a wild cougar had come to roam loose in the city's North Side and suburbs Monday. Officials on Tuesday defended their decision to kill it, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The cougar was a male wild cat, not an escaped captive animal, Cook County Animal and Rabies Control administrator Donna Alexander said Tuesday afternoon.

"He did not have any identifying marks as if he had been owned. He was a wild cat," Alexander said. "He was a pretty vicious guy out there in the wild, fending for himself, so the possibility of an attack was there," Alexander said.

Though it is still unclear where the cougar came from, by late Monday the animal lay dead in an alley, shot by police who said they feared it would attack them.

Chicago Police Capt. Mike Ryan said the cougar tried to attack the officers when they tried to contain it. Police said they could not tranquilize the animal because police officers typically do not carry tranquilizer guns...

"It was turning on the officers," Ryan said. "There was no way to take it into custody."

-- Tony Barboza

Photo: Candice C. Cusic/Chicago Tribune

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