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Young cougar killed after attacking dog in British Columbia

“These young cats are inexperienced hunters and find difficulty bringing down larger prey such as deer … Frequently they view domestic animals such as dogs and cats as a food source as well.”
 
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Thu, October 2, 2008
Dog saves women from cougar
UPDATED: 2008-10-02 02:37:21 MST
By CAYLA GABRUCK, COLUMBIA VALLEY PIONEER
 
INVERMERE, B.C. — The death of a small dog is being credited with saving the lives of three Windermere residents.
 
The 24-month-old female cougar has since been shot by conservation officers.
 
Three women — Ann Hopkins, Candis Dear and Helen Eldstrom — were out walking
 
Monday afternoon with Hopkins’ two dogs: Oliver, a Schnauzer, and Ottis, a Shih Tzu-Bijon cross.
 
They were walking away from the beach when the incident occurred.
 
Suddenly Ottis, who was not on a leash, bolted.
 
Helen, who was one step behind the other two women, looked behind her.
 
That’s when she said she saw the cougar about a metre away.
 
“I said, ‘Oh my God – it’s a cougar!’ ” Helen said. “And then he moved forward — he was going after Oliver, the dog on the leash.”
 
Completely focused on his target, the cougar moved swiftly between the other two women, so close that Dear felt its fur brush her leg as it went by.
 
“I looked down and I saw a paw with white toes,” said Dear.
 
“It was so quick, we didn’t hear anything approach us.”
 
At the same time the cougar was heading towards the dog on the leash, Ottis came
running back to the group of women.
 
Once he reached them, he turned and ran in another direction, as if to distract the giant cat.
 
The cougar took off after Ottis, killing the small dog instantly and carrying him in its mouth through a nearby yard and out of sight, as the women watched on in horror.
 
“That little dog saved us,” Dear said.
 
“Who knows what that cougar would have done? It would have tried to get the dog on the leash and who knows? It could have come after one of us,” she said.
 
“I have never been so scared in my life. ”
 
Shortly after the incident, Conservation Officer Pat McHarg arrived on the scene with a houndsman and his two dogs to track and kill the young cat.
 
“Incidents like this happen because cougar kittens are turned out of the den by the female cat at a young age to make room for another litter,” McHarg said.
 
“These young cats are inexperienced hunters and find difficulty bringing down larger prey such as deer … Frequently they view domestic animals such as dogs and cats as a food source as well.”
 
Three days earlier, on Sept. 26, Columbia Valley RCMP officers responded to another cougar attack in Windermere.
 
Around 7 p.m., Doug Ferris went to bring his two Shih Tzus, Lulu and Lily, inside — just in time to rescue Lulu from a cougar’s attack.
 
Lulu had puncture wounds to the skull, and is expected to make a full recovery.
 
 
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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org
 
 
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