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Cougar attacks dog on Elk Road
Conservation officer Alexandre Desjardins was called to Elk Road, just across the bridge on Kicking Horse Trail, after a cougar attacked a dog that was being walked by a local woman around 12:30 p.m. Friday.
The woman was walking her two dogs at the time of the attack. Both of them were about 20 feet ahead of her and off their leash. One dog managed to escape unscathed but the other one, described as a 55 pound lab-cross, was taken and killed by the cougar. The woman reported the incident to conservation authorities immediately, which was a big reason why Desjardins was able to find the cougar almost instantly.
"The fact that she reported it right away made our job super easy," Desjardins said.
The cougar, a young adult female, was shot and killed once it was located around 1:30 p.m..
"Once a cougar is able to access such an easy prey item, it is conditioned to just go back to that," Desjardins said. "Cougars also don't react well to relocation, they really don't adapt…they just start wandering back like a house cat."
Unlike bears, there isn't a lot that can be done to avoid attracting cougars into town. Desjardins did stress that it is important to keep dogs leashed as much as possible, although he admitted that it is often unrealistic for dog owners to keep their pets on a leash in forested areas with plenty of room to run.
The B.C. government advises individuals to never turn their back or run from a cougar in the event of an encounter as sudden movements might provoke an attack. Instead, it is essential to make yourself look as large as possible and back away slowly. If the cougar shows interest, you are advised to show your teeth, make loud noises and fight back if it attacks in order to convince the cougar that you are a threat.
Wildlife encounters should be immediately reported to conservation's 24 hour hotline at 1-877-952-7277. More information about cougar encounters and sightings can be found at the B.C. government's Ministry of Environment website at http://www.gov.bc.ca/env/.