A surveillance camera from a house north of Aztec captured footage of a mountain lion outside the home in January.

San Juan County resident has had several cats disappear


FARMINGTON — A San Juan County woman who says she lost several cats to a mountain lion in January says the cougar has returned to her neighborhood.

In early January, Sue Westhead first saw a mountain lion on her video cameras outside her house near U.S. Highway 550 north of Aztec.

Around the same time, two of her cats disappeared. During that time period, a La Plata resident had goats killed by a mountain lion.

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish officials began trying to capture the mountain lion, but a spokesman for the department said he has not heard reports of the cougar being caught.

MORE: Game and Fish officers search for cougars that killed goats

The department did not know how many mountain lions were involved in the goat killings in January.

The mountain lion appeared twice on Westhead's video surveillance cameras. The last time she saw it was around Jan. 14.

"I have not seen any evidence of it near my house, but then, I have nothing left to eat," she said.

Westhead had six cats that slept in her garage and were outside much of the time. Only one of those cats remains.

MORE: San Juan County will pay more to house stray animals

At the time, Westhead printed an image of the mountain lion and handed out fliers to her neighbors warning them of the animal's presence.

A neighbor contacted her about 10 days ago because he had seen the mountain lion hunting in broad daylight.

Westhead wants to raise awareness about the mountain lion in her neighborhood.

"I'm not trying to get the mountain lion or lions killed," she said.

Instead, she would like to see the cougar relocated.

"It doesn't deserve to die for trying to survive," Westhead said. "I just wish it hadn't survived on my cats."

People who see a mountain lion in a residential area are encouraged to call nonemergency dispatch at 505-334-6622.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

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