Rumors of a mountain lion spotted near central Iowa may be more than just word of mouth. Mitchellville Mayor Mike Kendall says he has top quality references vouching for the authenticity of the most recent sighting.He says the police chief saw it, then went and fetched the town’s public-works director who also is an experienced hunter and has seen cougars in the wild. They both saw the animal and saw its tracks also. The Mayor says local folks don’t know if they should be concerned. Kendall says it causes concern and he wants to alert citizens because the cougar’s been sighted inside the town’s limits before and yesterday’s sighting about 8 A.M. was in a field within city limits, where he says the animal was “rolling around, which isn’t characteristic behavior of a wild cougar.” Mayor Kendall says that’s bound to raise concern over the safety of small pets and children in the area. He’s already heard ideas about what to do with the beast, including persuading it to roam some other part of Iowa. He laughs they’ve already heard suggestions to tranquilize the thing and move it to another town. He says more seriously that as more of the countryside is developed we’re seeing more of this kind of thing. “We see it in all of our towns with deer and raccoons and possums and all kinds of wild animals — it’s jsut a bit different whern it’s such a large and potentially dangerous animal as a cougar.” Mitchellville does not allow hunting or discharging firearms in town, and the mayor wants to remind everyone of that. Local and county law enforcement officers know about the reports, he says, so anyone else who has a sighting should call local law-enforcement and not try to take matters into their own hands. “We don’t want a bunch of folks out there walking around with high-powered rifles looking for a cougar.” He says he’s confident in his city officials’ reports that they know a cat print from a dog’s, and know the size of a cougar footprint. Mayor Kendall says the DNR, grappling wtih constant hoaxes and incorrect reports of sightings, doesn’t seem much interested in this report.
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