By Ellen Thompson/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
A mountain lion has been spotted in the area of Saddle Butte Road and possibly near the grain elevators on First Street.
The sightings have not been confirmed by Havre Animal Control or by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, animal control officer Gordon Inabnit said Thursday.
After the first report from Saddle Butte Road three weeks ago, Inabnit went to the area looking for tracks or signs of bedding, but found none, he said. FWP game wardens have also been in the area looking.
Diana Delatorre lives on Saddle Butte Road, and has seen the animal twice, she said.
The first time was three weeks ago. She noticed the dogs in the neighborhood were making a lot of noise and she heard a strange noise, a noise she now thinks might have been the big cat's scream.
"I heard a funny sound, but I don't know what a mountain lion sounds like, but that's when I looked out and I saw it," Delatorre said.
The mountain lion was lying in a field behind her house about 50 yards away, she said. It was the size of a large dog, and she said she wasn't sure it was a mountain lion until she saw it get up and walk into the trees. Its tail was long, all the way to the ground, she said. It did not move like a dog.
Delatorre saw the animal again Tuesday night at dusk. This time she was not alone. Her son Michael and his girlfriend saw the animal too. This time they had binoculars and they could confirm what they were seeing.
Her son, who had seen a mountain lion before, said Thursday he was sure that's what it was.
"We watched for a few minutes and then it got up and walked into some thicker brush," Diana Delatorre said. The mountain lion was sitting up when they started watching it, she said.
The first time she spotted the cat, Delatorre said, she called the police, and the police sent Inabnit.
"He came out here. Of course, at that time the cat was no longer here," she said. "He was skeptical about what I had seen."
Delatorre is new to the area. She asked neighbors, "Is this unusual or something?"
When Delatorre told her neighbor Ann Klimas, who has young children, Klimas took it seriously.
"There are kids walking to school around here and Halloween is coming up ... and somebody is going to get hurt or killed. We've been lucky so far," Klimas said. "(The game warden) says animals come in and move out and we just have to wait for it to go away."
She said she is not interested in waiting for it to go away, or for snow to fall so the animal could be tracked.
FWP game warden Shane Reno said