Mountain lion sightings reported in Stark County close park as precaution

Bob Jones,

Police in Canton and Louisville said multiple people have called the departments in recent days saying they've spotted a mountain lion roaming in a rural part of Stark County.

The first call came into police on July 4 around 4:45 p.m., where a 911 caller told dispatchers a mountain lion was in the 3500 block of Millvale Road NE.

"I think we see a cougar running around in the apartments behind our house...There are a lot of people out here," said Canton resident, Bob Howard.

On Tuesday, Howard told NewsChannel 5, "I spotted it right over there in the corner (of the woods). It just poked his head out. It took off. We never seen it no more."

Several other calls have come in to the Canton and Louisville police departments since then, where callers report seeing the same animal.

"A big animal just went in the woods behind my house. It's making a noise and it's got these glowing green eyes," another 911 caller stated in Louisville around 11:42 p.m.

Each time a mountain lion sighting call came in, Canton Police Department Cpt. David Kurzinsky said officers were sent out to see if they could find any tracks that lead to the animal.

So far, officers have not spotted any mountain lion, but have closed Fairhope Nature Preserve, a 90-acre park on Millvale Rd. NE, as a precaution.

The Stark County Sheriff's Department also called several area residents to warn them about the possible mountain lion.

The call startled Melissa Bailey. She said, "Can you imagine getting a message that's left on your voicemail that there's a mountain lion loose?"

Any mountain lion sightings can be reported to your local police department.

Police are urging people in the area to not approach the mountain lion and to keep pets inside.