MONTPELIER – The state of Vermont sent its first text alert on Monday to every citizen with a registered cell phone, warning residents of a potential catamount attack. The only problem? The catamount was recently declared extinct by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“No, I definitely saw a catamount,” said Vermont state employee Archie Traegerfenger who was responsible for sending out the alert. “I know what a catamount looks like. I went to UVM. It was terrifying, and the public has the right to know when there is a wild animal on the loose. I stand by my decision to send the alert.”
Traegerfenger has been put on paid administrative leave while his supervisors try to sort out exactly what happened.
“I mean, Archie’s a good kid,” said supervisor Ernie Little, “but even if he did see a catamount, the whole state probably doesn’t need to know about it. Could be that more training is required.”
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commissioner has said that people report 40-50 catmount sightings each year, despite the animal having been extinct for decades. For now Vermonters are urged to ignore that first text alert, as well as the follow up alert that was sent 35 minutes later that read “Going 2 b home late, pls start dinner.”