MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — From playtime to a gentle stroll, people and their pets are a typical sight at Edina’s Arden Park.
But little Chico, a two-year-old Bolognese dog, and his owner saw something that will keep them from visiting the park for quite some time.
“We’re not going that way for a while,” the owner said, who asked we hide her identity. “It was bigger than a golden retriever or a Lab.”
She said a large, wild cat pounced out of the woods towards them on the park’s east side during their morning walk. She believes it was a cougar.
“The [wild cat] stopped the running and he went into this stalking, like the stalk walk,” she said.
She grabbed Chico and ran to a neighbor’s house across from the park, but nobody was home.
“The cougar was watching us from across the street and he was stalking us. So I decided to just run through her backyard and run through the alley and home,” she said.
The story quickly spread through the neighborhood, especially with dog owners.
“My wife said, you know, ‘Why don’t you go walk little Joey tonight?'” said resident Kerry McGrain.
He said it’s normal to see wild animals around the park, which is next to a creek bed that is surrounded by trees — but not a cougar. Other residents mentioned coyotes, deer, foxes and raccoons. But Chico’s owner stands by what she believes she saw.
“There were no spots [on the animal]. It was yellow and it was cat-like. It wasn’t like a wolf or coyote or anything,” she said.
She called Edina Animal Control and hopes they can catch, while she works on catching her breath.
“I came home and I had an asthma attack because I wasn’t planning on running [laughs]!” she said.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources states on its website that there have been 14 verified cougar sightings in the past four years. However, the animal likely traveled through the state from the West Dakotas.