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Mountain Lion Eludes Police

January 6, 1995

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A mountain lion wearing a collar and chain eluded tracking dogs, animal control officers, a helicopter and two suburban police forces Friday.

Game officials and two dozen police officers from Darby and Yeadon searched through woods near the city line, where Yeadon officer Michael Dolly reported seeing the animal Thursday afternoon.

Two residents of the densely populated suburbs also reported seeing the animal Friday in the two-mile stretch where police searched for five hours.

Police put out extra patrols and warned residents to stay out of the area for a few days. Schools and neighboring police departments were put on alert.

``We have everybody prepared to move again if need be,″ Yeadon Detective William Costello said.

Dolly said he saw a 100-pound cougar wearing a collar and chain on its neck behind a school. He had been looking for the animal since police received several phone calls Wednesday from Darby and Yeadon residents.

``The tracking dogs did pick up a scent initially but the trainer feels it’s an old scent, possibly from yesterday,″ said Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux.

Dave Wood of the Philadelphia Zoo said the cougar is probably very hungry and could starve to death or attack humans _ especially children _ and pets.

``The animal itself in the wild would feed on such things as deer, ... sheep in the mountains, rabbits,″ Wood said. But since this animal probably is someone’s pet, it likely hasn’t developed its hunting skills, he said.

State game officials say no one in Philadelphia or Delaware County has a permit to keep a cougar as a pet. No one had reported a missing cougar.

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