A mountain lion was shot and killed by Peoria police after it stalked a northwest Valley neighborhood Tuesday night, officers said.
The animal was roaming an area near Lake Pleasant and Westwing parkways.
It wandered into Rebekah Coleman's backyard and gave her the shock of her life.
"This thing is sitting in our backyard and I don't know what it wants," Coleman said.
Even though it gave the outward impression of being cute and cuddly, when Coleman's daughter went near the window, cuddling was the last thing it wanted to do.
"The thing hissed at her, like a full open mouth, just hiss, and so she screamed," Coleman said. "Then we all screamed."
Arizona Game and Fish spokesman Randy Babb said Peoria police did not need authorization from them to shoot the mountain lion if it did not cooperate.
"This thing had no fear," Coleman said. "It was just right up at the glass and it was just watching me and I was watching it and we were just watching each other."
The animal attempted to flee after it was cornered, and Peoria police officers opened fire, killing the animal.
Babb said the police department acted appropriately.
"Either way you look at it, the animal should have been put down, either to test for disease or to stop this abnormal behavior," Babb said. Babb said the young mountain lion acted abnormally by straying away from its family.
Babb estimated the animal was 12 to 18 months old.
"Any wild animal can be aggressive if it's cornered or has some reason to be aggressive," said Wildlife World Zoo's Mickey Ollson. "They can obviously be aggressive."
Coleman said as sad as it was to see it die, she certainly did not want anyone to get hurt.
"Last thing we would want to see is a child that we know in this neighborhood on this block to be attacked or an adult or a dog," Coleman said.
Because mountain lions are shy and elusive, people do not often see them, according to the Arizona Game and Fish website.
Game and Fish experts estimate the state's mountain lion population is robust and increasing from 2,500 to 3,000.
"These are the natural habitats of these animals and we built houses and moved our cities into their habitat," Ollson said.
Ollson said what the Coleman family did was the right thing - stay inside and don't go near it and run.
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.
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