Big cat reports taken seriously by Oak Harbor police

Something big has been reportedly seen prowling around Oak Harbor — something big and cat-like.

The Oak Harbor Police Department received two calls last week about an animal that looked like a cougar in the city.

Last week, Tara Gorski was at home on Northeast 11th Avenue with her children and her friend’s 9-year-old daughter. While Gorski was in another room, she heard the 9-year-old calling for her.

The girl said she saw a cougar in the neighbor’s yard, Gorski said.

Gorski asked her to describe what she saw and explain how big it was.

The girl described a tan feline that was far too large to be a house cat. Gorski had recently heard of a neighbor who spotted something with the same description in the neighborhood, so she went running outside to see if she could get a picture.

“All the kids were freaking out, especially when I went outside to check,” she said.

Police Capt. Bill Wilke said officers were unable to find the large feline. However, the day before the department received a similar call.

Two children said they saw a big cat in their back yard on Northeast 10th Avenue, Wilke said. The children described it as a large, tan cat. Officers checked the surrounding area and didn’t find anything.

Wilke said the children at the different residences hadn’t spoken to each other before making the calls.

“So they’re definitely seeing something,” he said.

In June 2017, a caller reported seeing a cougar near Regatta Drive. That sighting was also never confirmed.

Wilke said to his knowledge, a big cat has never been found in the city.

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife will respond to cougar sightings when there is a threat to public safety, the agency’s website says. If one encounters a cougar, pick up small children and don’t run, the website states. Stand tall, make noise and don’t look away from the animal.

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