Herriman mountain lion euthanized after sheep attack, face-to-face neighbor encounter
Oct 18, 2023, 6:55 PM | Updated: 6:59 pm
HERRIMAN — A Herriman woman is recounting the terrifying moment her husband came face-to-face with a cougar right outside their home.
Police euthanized the cougar just minutes later, and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said it left officers with no other choice.
For a neighborhood used to all kinds of animals, like cows, goats, and sheep, there’s one animal that Brooke Proctor was hoping not to come across.
“We heard that there was a mountain lion roaming around our neighborhood,” she said. “People worried about letting their dogs out, letting their kids out.”
In fact, just a half mile from her house last Saturday night, Utah DWR said their officers and biologists tried to capture a cougar they believe has been hanging around town. However, Scott Root with DWR explained that they don’t tranquilize animals at night, so they weren’t able to do that.
Ultimately, the cougar got away, and they couldn’t capture or relocate it.
Then on Tuesday night, as Proctor’s husband stepped outside with a flashlight, he realized the cougar was on their property and had already made his attack.
“He shined [the flashlight] underneath our trailer by our watering trough, and he saw two eyes eating a lamb,” she said.
DWR thinks the Proctors found that same cougar, this time, feasting on their sheep.
“He immediately started freaking out,” Proctor said, of her husband’s reaction. “He heard [the cougar] hiss at him.”
Herriman Police responded after the family called. A video that Proctor’s husband took shows officers shooting the feline minutes later.
Root explains that the young mountain lion, estimated to be a one-and-a-half-year-old male, had simply become a problem. He said usually mountain lions will just pass through. They typically see issues when cougars are sick, really old, or in this case, just young.
“Anytime you have a mountain lion that’s setting up shop in a community, a residential community, an urban area, then that’s not a good thing. We don’t want that mountain lion doing that,” Root said.
That, paired with the fact the cougar was preying upon livestock, Root explained, meant that relocation just wasn’t possible.
“The officers made the right choice to euthanize that mountain lion,” he said. “Public safety is our number one priority.”
Proctor now has one less sheep in her flock but is glad the rest of the neighborhood animals and children won’t be harmed by the hang-around predator.
“It was really sad that it had to end up with the turnout it did,” she said. “But in all end, everyone’s safe and we’re okay.”
Tips on staying safe with cougars nearby are available on Wild Aware Utah.