NOTE: Video Contains Graphic Content
Wednesday evening, staff at Omaha's Project Harmony reported a mountain lion on their property. The Nebraska Humane Society says because of the risk to those nearby - including children- the decision was made to shoot the animal.
Mark Langan, vice president of field operations for the Humane Society, says the organization contacted the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium about "a proper dosage" to immobilize the big cat. The society decided it was best to shoot it because mountain lions can become unpredictable when tranquilized.
Nebraska Game and Parks revealed Wednesday evening that the 120 lb. mountain lion had a broken leg and was immobile. It wasn't clear how long he was outside Project Harmony.
Police responded to a call around 5 p.m. that a mountain lion was near the Project Harmony Building at 120th and Q streets.
Game and Parks protocol is to euthanize mountain lions found in metropolitan areas. Attempts at tranquilization and relocation are dangerous, state officials said, because lions can become unpredictable once darted.
"Our mountain lion response plan calls for cougars in town to be euthanized if it can safely be done, out of safety considerations for the people in the city," said Craig Stover, Law Enforcement Administrator for Nebraska Game and Parks.
Project Harmony Director Gene Klein told WOWT 6 News authorities were alerted as soon as the animal was first spotted. The animal spent roughly half an hour curled up against the side of the building sleeping, before Omaha Police arrived.
Project Harmony staff were initially told the plan was to tranquilize the mountain lion.
"Sadly because of all the people in this area, kids inside the building, the decision was made to shoot the mountain lion," says Mark Langan, Vice President of Field Operations.
"It was such a huge public safety factor. [It] could have taken off running across the parking lot or something."
Omaha Police used shotguns to kill the animal.
Late Thursday, Omaha Police released a statement: "Officers placed themselves between the mountain lion and the public then attempted to humanely euthanize the mountain lion. After the first shots were fired, the mountain lion rose up and officers fired until they were certain the animal posed no further threat to public safety and to end its suffering."
Officers consulted with several agencies including the Nebraska Humane Society, Nebraska Game and Parks and the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo.