What could have been a big mess was avoided yesterday, as a cougar was shot in a back yard and taken away, and later released.

It all started about 4:40 Wednesday afternoon when a man called the police to report a cougar in his backyard lounging on his patio furniture and eating his food.

The 24-year-old man, who didn't want to be identified, said he returned home from a vacation, only to find the cougar at his house. The man said he recognized the cougar, and it wasn't the first time they have had had contact.

The man estimated the cougar's age to be around 44, and said their first contact came outside of a local gym about three months ago. And though he did admit to luring the cougar to his residence with a six pack and some sea food -- mostly muscles, no shrimp -- the cougar became more aggressive and he was forced to run her off of his property many times in the last few weeks. Some of his friends said they to had to run her off their property.One friend said, "The cougar goes from house to house trying to gain entry, usually early in the morning."

The man had no choice but to call in the CRT (Cougar Removal Team). After taking a look at the cougar, and evaluating her mood, they moved in. Shots were fired, five to be exact: three Tequila, one Pendleton, and a Grey Goose. The cougar became easier to work with and was taken away to avoid further conflict.

With more and more people moving into the Tri-Cities area, local bars say cougar sightings are on the rise, and warn that most are well-behaved and manicured. But just the slightest irritation on the males' part, and the claws will come out.

On a side note, a 120-pound mountain lion was shot and killed in a backyard in Kennewick by Fish and Wildlife officials around 9 a.m. on Wednesday. Officials said there was no other way to safely remove the wild animal from the residential area. They should have tried some jewelry and Patron, or a call to Ashton Kutcher.

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