A farming family that lives about 30 miles west of the Twin Cities metro area fears that a cougar is lurking around their property.
Debbie Wurm, who lives on a farm about a mile and a half south of Maple Lake, says they've seen what they believe is a cougar on occasion for a few years now, but of late the animal has been leaving behind tracks throughout their property.
"We've seen him," Wurm told BMTN. "The dogs go nuts when it comes around."
One of her dogs recently turned up with injuries that required a trip to a veterinary emergency room, but she's not certain her lab was attacked by cougar.
"My dog got attacked, I'm not sure what from. And my son got chased by an animal the size of a dog or bigger," she said.
Wurm said her son was working outside at 4:45 a.m. recently when he spotted what he thought was one of their dogs. When he called its name the dog came running from behind him, and the animal he thought was his friendly pet darted towards him. He ran for safety and took cover in a shed.
"He was scared to death," Wurm said.
In an effort to stay as safe as possible, Wurm says she now has to lock her four dogs inside at night and her kids aren't allowed to play outside after dark. She also has four horses on the property she's worried about.
"Every time we get up to go to work or anything we look up in the trees. You can't even live in peace."
BMTN reached out to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources about the incident but did not hear back by the time this story was published.
Wurm, however, said her family knows DNR employees and that they've contacted one employee who likened the tracks to those of a cougar.
There have been multiple cougar reports not far from the Twin Cities in recent months, including one in Chaska in which the local police were on the lookout. Another in Edina was more likely to have been a bobcat, police said.
Meanwhile, the hunt for a cougar believed to have killed a 55-year-old woman has begun in Oregon. According to The Oregonian, it's the first known fatal attack by a wild cougar in Oregon.