Cougar sighting in W.C. reported

WEBSTER?CITY?- The Webster City Police Department is investigating an unconfirmed cougar or mountain lion sighting at Brewer Creek Park Tuesday morning between two of the town’s residential districts.

Rick Lovelace, of Webster City, reported the sighting.

He and his wife, Shirley Lovelace, were on their morning walk, going from Des Moines Street onto Brewer Creek Trail heading west. As they walked past the park shelter, Shirley Lovelace saw several deer running through the tall grass near Graceland Cemetery.

Rick Lovelace said the deer were running very fast. Then he noticed something chasing them.

When he looked at what was pursuing the deer, Rick Lovelace said he knew it wasn’t a dog. He whistled. It stopped. That’s when he got a good look at the animal. He said it appeared to be a big cat with reddish-brown fur, a long tail, and large front legs.

He estimated that it was at least 2 feet tall at its shoulders.

Shortly after he whistled, the animal turned and ran.

The Lovelaces reported the sighting to the Police Department.

Pat Segar, Public Safety director for the Police Department, said officers and members of the Webster City Recreation and Public Grounds Department investigated the area.

Several tracks were found in the mud near the sighting.

Craig Biggs, Graceland Cemetery supervisor, investigated those tracks. He compared them to images of mountain lion tracks he found online. Biggs said they look very similar. He said the tracks could have been made by a very large dog. However, he said there were no reports of any stray dogs in the area.

Biggs said this is the second report of a mountain lion in the area in the last three to four months.

Both reports remain unconfirmed.

Segar said the Police Department is taking the sighting seriously.

In an effort to confirm the report, several trail cameras have been placed at the park. For now, Segar said the department is waiting to see if a mountain lion, bobcat or something else is caught on camera.

In the meantime, Rick Lovelace said he and his wife will be keeping off the trail during their morning walk.