LaFayette police are warning residents that a large mountain lion has been spotted in the Dogwood Circle subdivision in LaFayette.

After contacting Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), residents are urged to call Walker County 911 if the mountain lion is spotted.

If there is a threat, residents are encouraged to use deadly force.

According to LaFayettte police Capt. Stacey Meeks, a large mountain lion, measured at about 6-to-8 feet from nose to end of tail, has been witnessed in the Dogwood Circle subdivision.

Several witnesses in the area have even heard the animal making cries that are described as “the sound of a woman screaming” over the past two to three weeks.

This is a concern for the safety of not only the neighborhood and the adjoining areas, but also the young children and elderly who live in the subdivision, Meeks said.

The mountain lion is described as very large, even larger than a German shepherd, and brown in color.

It is believed that the mountain lion may be coming from a wooded area near the water tank on Probasco Street, across the railroad tracks, and into the Dogwood Circle neighborhood.

“This is a worry for children,” Meeks said. “If it is starving, it could hurt someone.”

Meeks said LPD has been in contact with a DNR biologist about the matter and are trying to find a resolution to deal with any possible threat of the mountain lion.

“We view it as a threat to our citizen’s,” Meeks said. “If our citizen’s see it, report it to 911. And if they feel threatened by it, put it down.”

Trail cameras are going to be placed in the area to track the animal.

Dogwood Circle resident Connie Forester said she saw the large wild animal on Thursday morning, July 7, shortly after 7 a.m. near her residence on Dogwood Circle.

“I was on this other street that runs parallel to my street. I was walking south and it was early in the morning,” Forester said. “He was going from east to west.”

Forester is referring to the area at the intersection of Dogwood Circle and Whippoorwill Lane.

“It was running,” Forester said.

Forester said her youngest son, Jim, lives in Denver. Colorado, and mountain lions can be spotted in neighborhoods in that area.

“When they see them (in the neighborhoods), they get rid of them,” Forester said.

Forester alerted the police, as well as other residents in the neighborhood who have only heard it even as of this morning, Monday, July 11.

“It was big. It was bigger than a big dog. This is no little kitty cat,” Forester said. “I turned around and went into another direction.”

Meeks said DNR reports that there is no season for mountain lions in the state of Georgia and it is illegal to hunt them, but people have a right to protect themselves if they feel threatened by any wild animal.

“This is a matter we have never dealt with before,” Meeks said. “My 23 years in the department, I have seen one bear in the city limits that was dumpster diving, but rarely do we encounter any dangerous wildlife in the area.”

Mountain lions can bound up to 40 feet, leap 15 feet up into a tree, climb over a 12-foot fence, travel many miles at 10 mph, and reach up to 50 mph in a sprint.

To learn more about mountain lions, visit mountainlion.org/FAQfrequentlyaskedquestions.asp.

“We are taking this very serious as we are concerned for the safety of our citizen’s,” Meeks said.

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at jobryant@npco.com.