Letters: Stalked by cougar in East Sooke

Hikers and dog walkers should be aware of cougar in East Sooke park

For 10 years we were the proud companions to a gentle, well-behaved, Brittanny spaniel that was attacked and killed by a cougar in East Sooke Regional Park on Feb. 5 last. The park rules are that dogs must be in control of their owners at all time and when she was attacked she was under our control, within five to 10 metres of the Babbington Hill trail (between the Anderson Cove and Park Heights trails).  We believe the cougar stalked us until it had the opportunity to attack the dog.

I haven’t been able to write earlier as we were grieving the death of our companion but now I would like to warn people who are hiking in ESRP to be aware that a cougar is stalking dogs (perhaps people too) and that they should consider keeping their dogs on a leash.

We did advise the Conservation Officers as it was the second cougar attack in our area within a month, but apparently they haven’t been able to do anything about this situation and it is very likely this cougar (and possibly others) is still in the area.

What is unusual about these attacks is the fact that this cougar doesn’t seem to be afraid of people as both attacks occurred a few metres from the dog owners.  Of course we are also very concerned for small children who could also be the victims of such attacks in our area if they are not very close to an adult.

Please be very cautious and alert in the ESRP about cougars, particularly for young children and dogs, taking appropriate measures to protect yourselves, your children and pets.

Pierre Rousseau

East Sooke