The Aegis
Harford County

Suspected cougar sighting reported in Abingdon early Wednesday

Some very big cats may have been roaming the neighborhoods around Abingdon Elementary School in the middle of the night Tuesday into early Wednesday morning, according to a report made to Harford County's 911 Center.

Someone called 911 at 12:54 a.m. Wednesday to report seeing "a cougar or a mountain lion" in the area of Tollgate and Singer roads, Harford County emergency operations spokesman Robert Thomas confirmed. The caller did not leave a name.


"Nothing was found — no signs of wild animals — and no further action was taken," Thomas said.

The monitored radio broadcast reported a caller saw "three cougars, possibly mountain lions on Singer Road."


The radio dispatcher said the caller described the cats as being "tan" and said they had just crossed the road and that "one was possibly a cub."

Harford County Sheriff's Office spokesman Edward Hopkins said he had no more information on the incident.

"We responded and the animals were gone on arrival," Hopkins said.

Unconfirmed sightings of mountain lions and panthers do persist in Maryland, according to the state Department of Natural Resources website.

The bobcat is the only resident "big cat" with established populations in Maryland, and bobcats range from Garrett County to the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, according to DNR.

Cougar lore has long been a staple of Harford County — and other parts of Maryland — with periodic sightings reported, often in northern Harford along the Pennsylvania border or in western Harford around Gunpowder Falls State Park. Typically, most local and national wildlife experts debunk the claims or say any cougars that do exist might have escaped from captivity.

Prior to Wednesday morning, the most recent suspected cougar encounter in Harford occurred in late November 2011, when a man claimed he saw what he believed were cougar tracks around Macton Road in the Dublin community in the northeast part of the county.

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The man said he was on Macton Road, when he saw veterinarians working on farm cattle, which appeared to have been attacked.


Around the area where the cattle were attacked, the man told a reporter at the time, he noticed tracks that matched those of a large cat.

In January 2010, a Bel Air woman told The Aegis she had sighted a large animal with a "tan coat" and a "gently curving tail" crossing Norrisville Road near Jarrettsville Elementary School late in the evening as she was driving to her home.

At the time, however, a regional manager for the Wildlife and Heritage Service of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources said that although they occasionally get calls about cougar sightings in the region, in his 35 years, "none of them has ever panned out."

The Fallston High School mascot, incidentally, is a cougar. The Bel Air High School mascot is a bobcat.

A mountain lion was reported roaming in October in Washington, D.C., according to CBS DC.

Aegis staff members Erika Butler and Allan Vought contributed to this article.