New Media Producer: Kerry Corum
State officials in Henry County are investigating a link between lost pets and recent reports from residents that they've seen mountain lions in the area.
On a farm in western Henry County, Dr. Jann Aaron is accustomed to living with wildlife - but not mountain lions. "I said, 'Oh my God! Henry, did you see that? There was a lion ran down the flat bed wagon and jumped into the field.'"
Baughman confirms his wife's story. "The first I heard about it, my wife saw it jump and was afraid to tell anybody because she didn't want me to think she was crazy."
But they were not alone. Not far up the road, the impression of a large paw print and a loud noise has Lynda Clark suspecting a possible big cat in the area. "No, I did not see it," she says, "but what I heard was not a Tomcat or little-bitty cat, and I haven't heard anything like it since I've been out here."
Louisville Zoo Big Cat Expert Dave Hodge says mountain lions, called cougars in Kentucky, do not surprise him. "It's going to be hard on the dog population and cat population." But he adds, it's not a natural occurrence. "It's a 99.9% likelihood these are captive animals that have gotten loose or were released."
So far, most of the mountain lion reports are coming from around the Jerrico Lake area. Many residents feel the lion, or lions, are using that area as a home base and venturing out for food.
Investigators with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife say the tracks they've studied so far are inconclusive. So the mystery continues. Officials urge anyone with more information to give them a call.
Until it's resolved Clark will keep a closer watch on her goat and dogs. "I think they need to put more effort toward catching it and getting rid of it," she says. "If that means shooting it, so be it."
Hodge, on the other hand, hopes the lion or lions can be caught. "They'll have to be dealt with in some manner. Hopefully, alive in a sanctuary somewhere. If they are allowed to roam, they will become a problem."
1115 Mt. Auburn Road
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