Geoffrey McAllister, Deseret News
Susan Briggs, left, of West Jordan, touches a tranquilized cougar Tuesday while Kathy Moyes looks on. The female cougar was spotted near 8600 South and 5000 West in West Jordan Tuesday. She ran through several backyards before she was caught by wildlife officials. She will most likely be released into the wild.

WEST JORDAN — A cougar caused some excitement in a neighborhood here Tuesday morning.

An 18-month-old female cougar, described by wildlife officials as being "good sized," went on a trip through some back yards near 8600 South and 5000 West.

Just before 6 a.m. a resident let his dog out into the backyard. When he went to see why his dog was barking, he spotted a cougar lying in the grass, said West Jordan police Sgt. Greg Butler. A few moments later, a second neighbor spotted the cougar and also called police.

A couple of hours later, a third sighting was called in to police about three blocks from the initial area, Butler said.

Police did a reverse 911 call to the area. A machine automatically called 600 homes in the area and left a recorded message cautioning residents to keep their pets and children indoors. Four schools in that area, three elementary and one middle school, all kept their children inside until the animal was caught.

Officials from the Division of Wildlife Resources were called and found the mountain lion in a back yard near where the original call was made at about 11:15 a.m. A tranquilizer was shot at the animal, which then began to hop fences into other back yards before the dart took effect and wildlife officials were able to capture the cougar with ropes.

The cougar was loaded into a truck and will be released into the wilderness at a location to be determined later, Butler said.

Incidents of cougars attacking humans are rare, he said. But if a person should come across one, Butler says that person should not try to run away or crouch down. Rather, people should make themselves seem as big as possible and make noise.

"With mountain lions, they're more afraid of us than we are of them," he said.

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