A mountain lion suspected of killing domestic cats around Spearfish has been shot and killed. The three-year-old cat was spotted near the grounds of the Passion Play. A Spearfish police officer found the lion and shot it once, but the lion took off.
Officials used four dogs to track the 80-pound mountain lion for several hours before it was finally cornered. State trapper Jack Alexander fired the final shot, but not before one of his trained tracking dogs fell over a cliff and died.
Mike Kintigh of the Game Fish and Parks Department says he's sure the cat is the one that has been killing cats around Spearfish.
Two dead cats and the carcass of a dead deer were found in the area where the cat was spotted.
South Dakota has hunting seasons for pheasants, deer and other animals, and now mountain lions could be added to the list.
A member of the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission says his panel might need to discuss whether a season is needed for the big cats. Merton Clarkson of Buffalo says he and the other commissioners need to look at adding a hunting season because of more lion attacks on pets and encounters with people.
He says it's happening both in the Black Hills and on the Plains.
© 2004 Associated Press.