Animal Spotted In Canal Winchester is Identified

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After viewing surveillance video, state wildlife officials have identified a large animal caught roaming through Canal Winchester.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says after seeing the animal move, they believe it is a coyote and not a mountain lion as people in the area suspected.

"We watched the video last night," said Steve Fitterer.

Five people huddled around the small television in the office of 33 Storage. The manager had been going through the last few days of surveillance video when she saw something saunter across the screen. She called in the owner and a few others for a second opinion.

"I guess at first it was a little bit of disbelief. We all looked at each other like, what is that?" said Fitterer.

"It looks like a mountain lion, but we can't say for certain," said 33 Storage owner, Scott Thompson.

"We watched it two or three times because you'd really think it'd be a coyote, something like that," said Fitterer.

But the consensus of the group is: it's no coyote. And that sparked another conversation.

"They're watching the coyotes out in these fields all the time. For about the last three or four months they have not seen any coyotes in this area," said Fitterer.

They also say a neighboring business has had chickens turn up dead.

"I guess there's a point where it could become dangerous," said Fitterer.

The Chief of The Division of Wildlife at The Ohio Department of Natural Resources at first thought the animal might be a bobcat. He says they're becoming more common in Ohio.

Bobcats are rarely seen in Ohio.

According to The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, there were 359 verified reports of bobcat sightings in Ohio from 1970 to 2009.

The cats are elusive by nature.

Mountain Lions are not indigenous to Ohio. They haven't been seen here since the 1800s. They live on the west coast from Canada down through Mexico.