A large cat-like animal is reportedly roaming the city, prompting Chief Stephan Wilder to issue a press release reminding residents “to be aware of their surroundings for safety’s sake.”
In the past week three different North Canton residents have called police to report a sighting of the large cat-like animal resembling a cougar or mountain lion at or near their residences, Wilder said.
Officers were dispatched to check the following areas for the animal or signs of it:
• The 300 Block of 5th Street Northwest – At 2:38 am. July 24 a resident’s motion detector lights went on and the resident reported seeing a mountain lion sized run across the street.
• Stark Parks Nature Trail in the 1300 Block of East Maple Street – At 10:02 a.m. July 28 a couple of people walking together reported they saw a large tan cat about the size of a German shepherd dog.
•1400 block of Wilkshire Circle Southwest – At 4:11 am. July 30 residents reported seeing and hearing a mountain lion or cougar-like animal walk through their back yard.
Wilder said his department has forwarded the sighting information to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ wildlife officer serving Stark County for review.
Included were several photos a police officer took of a cat-like paw print he observed near the west branch of Nimishillen Creek that flows through the park and trail areas.
Wilder said the recent sighting combined with past cougar sightings in Stark County are what prompted him to issue a reminder for all who live, work or visit North Canton “to be aware of their surroundings for safety’s sake. Safety is a responsibility we all need to share.”
City residents are encouraged to report such incidents as soon as possible to the North Canton Police Department at 330-499-5911.