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Because of public hysteria over predatory cats, many states have laws preventing the re-release of cougars once captured. The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone houses 14 cougars and is in the process of getting a 15th. Some are wild; some are domesticated animals the owners couldn't keep any longer. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Cougar sightings creating a buzz in region

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The young male cougar killed by a motorist south of Bemidji last weekend has ignited a collective "I told you so!" among the region's populace certain that mountain lions roam the countryside.

But local residents are also vilifying Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officers who, in the past, have been cautious in acknowledging a continuous presence of cougars or a breeding population in the state despite hundreds of unconfirmed sightings.

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