IMLAY TWP. — Maybe the snow and cold doesn't bother cougars. On Friday, someone along S. Summers Road thought they saw a big cat that resembled a cougar cross the road, just north of Sutton Road, shortly after 6 p.m.
The person called Lapeer County Central Dispatch to report the sighting and the Lapeer County Sheriff's Department was dispatched to the scene.
According to Undersheriff Jeremy Howe, Sgt. Don Brady responded to the call.
"Sgt. Brady advised that they saw some tracks in the snow but could not confirm if it was a cougar due to the weather conditions. The wind was blowing the snow into the tracks so it could not be confirmed," Howe said.
Someone called 911 after spotting what they thought was a cougar.
"Deputies checked the area and were unsuccessful in spotting the cougar or other tracks in the area."
The 911 caller said they saw the creature cross the street, headed west into an open field.
The alleged sighting is in close proximity to similar reports of a cat-like creature in the northwest portion of Almont Township.
In the fall of 2015, multiple residents told the Tri-City Times they saw something that resembled a cougar near Shoemaker and Hollow Corners roads. Those residents filed a report with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
For many years, state officials didn't believe that the animal was present in Michigan's Lower Peninsula, but just this past June, someone near Lansing captured a picture of a big cat and the DNR verified it was an actual cougar.
According to the DNR's website, the big cats were native to Michigan but extirpated more than 100 years ago. According to media reports, the DNR said the cougar spotted over the summer was either a transient from a western state or if it had been released from captivity locally.
They describe cougars as being solitary, "extremely secretive animals," who are primarily nocturnal.
The animals range in weight from 90-180 pounds and are five-six feet in length. Their primary wild prey is deer.
"Cougars are most often found in rural or relatively remote areas with ample cover and adequate prey populations," the website states.
The DNR asks that residents who have physical evidence (scat, tracks or carcass) to contact their local DNR Operations Service Center or visit their website, www.michigan.gov.dnr.
Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she and her family reside in the Capac area where she enjoys gardening and reading.