Law enforcement officers nervously ringed a Spokane Valley house Wednesday afternoon to contain a pet cougar while its owner returned the curious cat to its cage.
“Charlie,” a 150-pound cougar, pushed open the gate to his pen about 3 p.m. and sauntered into the yard. He had ventured as far as the street in front of his home at 415 N. Farr when animal control officers arrived.
“Let’s spread out and be ready to take action,” instructed Nancy Sattin, county animal control director. Four animal control officers - poised with tranquilizer guns - and two sheriff’s deputies - shotguns readied - kept an eye on the cougar while they waited for the cat’s owner, Lavina McGlenn, to race home.
Meanwhile, McGlenn’s 11-year-old daughter, Elisa, chased 3-year-old Charlie in the back yard and tried to coax the declawed cat back to his pen.
Armed with only a squirt bottle full of vinegar and water - a combination the family uses to discipline Charlie - she didn’t understand what all of the commotion was about.
“He doesn’t do anything. He just likes to play,” McGlenn said.
Law enforcement officials took no chances. Students at nearby Arthur B. Ness, St. John Vianney and Broadway elementary schools were held in school and Farr was closed between Broadway and Valleyway while the cougar was corralled.
None of the precautions proved necessary. Lavina McGlenn captured the roaming cat about an hour after it got loose.
“Somebody deliberately let him out,” McGlenn said. After feeding Charlie last night, McGlenn said she latched the gate, but must not have secured the lock, allowing somebody to take off the lock and let the cat out.
“What I don’t like about the situation is there is no perimeter fence,” Sattin said. “A child could walk right up to the pen and stick their arm in.” , DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo