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Mountain Lion Shot in Kearney Neighborhood

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A mountain lion was shot Monday morning on 12th Avenue in Kearney by the Kearney Police Department. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says they've investigated many mountain lion sightings in Kearney, but they've never come close to what they experienced that day.

The calls came in just before 7am and wildlife biologist Nic Fryda rushed to the scene where police were already standing by. Many neighbors ran to their windows at the sight of police cars flooding 12th Avenue. Candi Oldham said she was getting daughter ready for school this morning when her dog Max began barking furiously; "it was terrifying," she said.

"We really didn't know what was going on until we saw the mountain lion in our backyard," Oldham recalled. Every neighbor seemed to be standing in anticipation as police following the mountain lion, even hopping backyard fences.

"I saw two officers pull up in their cars, and they jumped out with their assault rifles and I was just kind of shocked at what was going on," said Monte Dakan, 12th Avenue neighborhood resident.

"Next thing I know, she decided to shoot the cat!" exclaimed John King, two doors down from the shooting.

A female officer for KPD was the one to fire the shot; Dakan said he was impressed by her skill and quick action.

NTV'S Facebook fans commented on the news of this story, discussing if killing the mountain lion on-site was a bad idea. "They should have tranquilized the animal and relocated it," one NTV fan commented.

But for the Game and Parks Commission, the idea that KPD could use a tranquilizer was practically an impossible idea. "We have one for the entire area around here, we have one tranquilizer."

There are rules that go with using it, too, and as kids began to leave for school, police considered it a safety issue, says Fryda. They wanted to act fast and that couldn't be done with a tranquilizer, due to not just lack of access to one, but the time of day as well.

"In a response like that we actually have to get a hold of a vet and get them on the scene," Fryda explained.

Neighbors on 12th Avenue say KPD had the correct response.

"My kids play outside before school," said Dakan, who's relieved that "the mountain lion's been taken care of."

For those opposed, Cindi Oldham says, "If it was their neighborhood and their children, and they would have seen it in their yard like I did, they'd probably feel differently."

The lion is being checked out by wildlife biologists for diseases and experts say it's likely that it was just traveling through on its way out of pine ridge. Experts say mountain lions are usually more scared of humans than we are of them; however, they do pose a threat.

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