UPDATE: Legislator proposes exotic animal ban in wake of lion hunt

UPDATED: Sunday, August 2, 2015 --- 9:42 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Republican state senator wants to ban exotic pets in Wisconsin as Milwaukee officials struggle to capture a lion-like animal roaming the city's streets.

Van Wanggaard of Racine is circulating a bill that would prohibit the possession, propagation and sale of dangerous exotic animals, including lions, tigers, polar bears, gorillas and various crocodiles. He says in a memo seeking co-sponsors that the bill is common sense legislation that would keep people, police and emergency responders safe.

The bill comes as police and animal control officials in Milwaukee are trying to trap a lion-like animal sighted multiple times around the city. Animal control officials say the animal likely is an escaped or released exotic pet.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press
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UPDATED: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- An animal control official says non-lethal traps baited with human food have been set up in Milwaukee to capture a lion-like animal that's the subject of several reported sightings.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and WISN-TV report the traps were set up near the site of the last confirmed sighting of the animal. Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission executive director Karen Sparapani says it's likely that the animal is an escaped or released exotic pet and might respond to human food.

Sparapani says the traps will be monitored so pets or other animals that get caught in traps can be freed. She says the lion-like animal would be sent to a sanctuary in Sharon.

Milwaukee police said Tuesday that officers investigated more calls about sightings of a large wildcat in the past two days, but did not find anything.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press
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UPDATED Monday, July 27, 2015 --- 6:20 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Officers armed with rifles and Department of Natural Resources staff carrying tranquilizer guns searched a ravine and surrounding neighborhood for an elusive lion-like animal after police were among those who spotted big cat in Milwaukee.

Police called in canine units as they searched thick bushes near Lincoln Creek Sunday. Curious citizens joined in the search, even though police warned residents to stay away from the area where the animal was last spotted. Several sightings were reported Saturday night and Sunday, including at least two by police.

The animal was first spotted by a citizen Monday in a neighborhood at least five miles from where police were searching Sunday.

Copyright: Associated Press 2015
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UPDATED Sunday, July 26, 2015 --- 9:55 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Sources tell WITI-TV the “Milwaukee Lion” may have been seen again Saturday night.

A large police presence is in the area near 30th and Fairmount as well as 32nd and Cameron on Saturday night, July 25th.

Police have confirmed around 7:15 p.m. officers responded to the area of a confirmed sighting of a “lion-like animal.” The area was contained but the animal was not located.

Sources tell WITI-TV, MADACC has reported they responded to the area with tranquilizer rifles.

Milwaukee police said they would stay in the area throughout the night.

Copyright 2015: WITI-TV

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UPDATED Thursday, July 23, 2015---12:02 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A man who thought he spotted a lion that people have reported seeing wandering on Milwaukee's north side, has shot and injured a large pit bull.

Police say the dog, which was shot Tuesday night, is being cared for at the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission.

The organization's director Karen Sparapani says people might be "amped up or afraid" by the reports of lion sightings. The pit bull suffered a gunshot wound to the right front leg.

Officers say the man who shot the dog has not been identified.

Milwaukee police say they have investigated about two dozen calls of apparent lion sightings. No animal has been found. Police Chief Edward Flynn has said his officers were given cellphone video of an animal that appeared to be a "lion-ish creature."

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, July 23, 2015---8:34 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A man who thought he spotted a lion that people have reported seeing wandering on Milwaukee's north side, has shot and injured a large pit bull.

WITI-TV (http://bit.ly/1RTQFaj ) reports that the dog, which was shot Tuesday night, is being cared for at the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission.

The organization's director Karen Sparapani says people might be "amped up or afraid" by the reports of lion sightings. The pit bull suffered a fractured leg, but should be OK. It isn't clear if the gunman will face charges.

Milwaukee police say they have investigated about two dozen calls of apparent lion sightings. No animal has been found. Police Chief Edward Flynn has said his officers were given cellphone video of an animal that appeared to be a "lion-ish creature."

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, July 22, 2015---9:36 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A report of a lion roaming a Milwaukee neighborhood has police and others on the lookout.

Milwaukee police say a woman reported seeing a lion Monday afternoon in her north side neighborhood. Police Chief Edward Flynn says his officers were given cellphone video of an animal that appeared to be a "lion-ish creature."

Officers checked the neighborhood, but didn't find anything. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was notified and dispatched an employee to check it out. Flynn says it was "theoretically possible" a wild cat had made its way south from northern Wisconsin.

The DNR says a mountain lion, or panther, is one of three wild cats native to the state.

The report of a lion sighting has lit up social media with its own hashtag #mkelion.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015 --- 4:53 a.m.

MILWAUKEE F0X 6 --- Milwaukee police say they are treating these reports regarding a possible lion in Milwaukee as “credible.”

Video surfaced Tuesday showing what appears to be a big cat sauntering through a neighborhood. The woman who shot the video planned to grill out on Tuesday evening — but with a baseball bat nearby — just in case. Police and wildlife officials are trying to determine what it is that the woman caught on camera.

Kelly Brooks says a strange footprint appeared in his yard on Monday. Even stranger — the call he got from his neighbor. “I got the call from the neighbor saying ‘hey Kelly, don’t go in your backyard. It’s a big animal back there and it looks like a lion,” Brooks said.

Brooks admits that at first, he didn’t believe it. Then he saw the video his neighbor shot.

“I’m like that’s a lion, lion! Not like a play lion — like a lion, lion,” Brooks said.

This all began on Monday night, when police took a report from an individual who saw what they believed to be a lion near E. Garfield Avenue and Palmer Street.

Police took a second report on Tuesday — a sighting near 37th and Sarnow.

“We’re treating it seriously,” Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said.