Could there be a mountain lion in the Valley? - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Could there be a mountain lion in the Valley?

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Could there be a Mountain Lion in the Valley? The large cats aren't native to the area but, a couple recent animal attacks and possible sightings have people wondering.

"The fact that this looks like a bite mark and then the scratches being above the bite mark is really what makes me think it was probably a cat or something that did this," said Rachel Basich of Sharpsville, whose horse was attacked a couple of weeks ago.

"Zipper" weighs 1,200 pounds and pictures from the incident show the extent of his wounds. Once washed off you can see what his owner believes may be a few teeth marks.

"He ran up to me and his whole entire leg was covered in blood, just squirting out you couldn't even tell where it was coming from," said Basich.

A similar incident unfolded a week and half later in Masury where a family reported "that a possible mountain lion attacked their dog." According to the police report, "you could clearly see the shape of a claw in the wound."

Then, just a few days later the State Highway Patrol was on the look out after a lieutenant spotted what he thought may have been a large cat in North Jackson.

Wildlife officials say they have not had any confirmed sightings of a mountain lion. They have not found any paw prints or received any pictures from trail cameras, often used for hunting.

"We don't have them wild in Ohio. Is it possible that there could be one that escaped from an enclosure? We haven't gotten any reports from that but is it possible I guess," said Wildlife Officer Supervisor with the Ohio Division of Wildlife Scott Angelo.

Wildlife officials say people could be mistaking a bobcat for a mountain lion. Bobcats are native to Ohio but, there are some distinct differences for example bobcats don't have a tail and have different coloring. They also say it is unlikely a bobcat would attack domestic animals as a food source unless they felt cornered or threatened.

"We would hate to say people didn't see what they say they saw but, I would think we would have some kind of photographic (evidence) or if we could find tracks or something like that to verify the sighting," said Angelo.

Wildlife officials say if you see something unusual, keep your distance and try to get a picture if you can do so safely.
 

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