A cougar had to be euthanized after it attacked a small dog near the Timberlodge RV Park in Port Alberni last week.
The attack took place on the evening of Wednesday, June 1. The owner intervened, saving the dog but sustaining “minor” injuries in the process.
Scott Morris, acting inspector for BC Conservation Service, said officers were able to track down the cougar the day after the attack, thanks to some sightings from the public.
“A cougar matching the description had just crossed the highway nearby and officers were able to attend and get the cougar up a tree,” he said.
The cougar, he added, appeared to be injured. It was euthanized and taken to a provincial veterinarian for a necropsy.
Since then, Morris said, there haven’t been any further sign of cougars in the area.
“We’re fairly confident that we got the right cougar that was involved in the incident,” he said.
Morris explained that young cougars will sometimes target pets while they are learning to hunt and struggling. This brings them into conflict with humans.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation, a very sad situation whenever we have to euthanize an animal,” said Morris. “But public safety has to come first.”
Morris recommends turning on the lights and looking around before taking a pet outside after dark. He also recommends taking cues from your pets, as they can often sense when a predator is nearby.
“Keep your dog close,” he said.
Being “aggressive and dominant” is the best way to deter a cougar if you spot one, said Morris.
BC Conservation Service also asks people not to feed feral cats, as these cats can often become a “target” for cougars. Anyone who spots a cougar in an urban area is encouraged to call the RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) line at 1-877-952-7277.
A GoFundMe has been set up for the veterinary costs of the dog who was attacked. It can be found at www.gofundme.com/alaskas-veterinary-costs. The fundraiser states that the dog, Alaska, is currently recovering after surgery and will heal with time.