Officer Jared Connatty from Williams Lake and a team of dogs on the trail of the cougar. Joel Kline photo.

Conservation Office catches cougar after it attacked a small dog

'We don't want to have cats create a public safety threat'

  • Jan. 26, 2018 12:00 a.m.

Conservation Officers caught and dispatched a young male cougar after a resident on the south side of Horse Lake witnessed the cougar kill her small dog on Jan. 18.

“Attacking small pets and livestock is a learned behaviour that will continue,” said officer James Zucchelli. “If we didn’t remove that cat it would continue. We don’t want to have cats create a public safety threat by hunting people’s pets right by their residence.”

According to Zucchelli, there have been cougar related incidents where livestock and small pets have been attacked or killed in the south side of Horse Lake for about four months, starting in the fall of last year. However, he finds it concerning that people are not reporting the incidents to the Conservation Office in a timely manner, hampering the conversation service’s ability to respond to the calls.

The resident who reported the incident on Jan. 18, however, did report it fast enough allowing the service to respond quickly.

“The Conservation Office responded with three officers and a group of “cougar” hounds from Williams Lake. We were able to locate the dog carcass and then from there we were able to put the dogs on the track of the cat,” said Zucchelli. “We were able to successfully and safely dispatch the cougar.”

The cougar was a young 16-month-year-old male.

Zucchelli warns the public not to walk their dog off-leash, especially during the night or early hours of the morning. Learning what cougar tracks look like, as well as learning their behaviour and biology was also recommended.

People who witness cougar related incidents should also report it as soon as possible.

“People think social media is going to get to us and unfortunately we’re not connected with a lot of the social media stuff that goes on, so we hear about it after the fact,” said Zucchelli.

To report wildlife incidents, call 1-877-952-7277.

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