A cougar previously spotted in a French Creek homeowner’s yard. (File photo/Cory Betz)

Cougar euthanized after attacking little dog in Qualicum area

Owner freed pet by whacking big cat, but dog didn’t survive the attack

A cougar that killed a small dog in the Qualicum area on Friday was later euthanized in the area by conservation officers.

“A family was outside painting their house and they let their little dog outside to go to the bathroom and within five seconds a cougar had attacked the dog and was trying to leave the area with the dog,” said conservation officer Andrew Riddell. “The homeowner then chased after their dog and hit the cougar in the head and released the dog, but unfortunately that dog ended up passing away.”

READ MORE: Three cougars destroyed in Qualicum Beach after killing sheep

VIDEO: cougar stalks cabin perimeter on Island’s west coast

Conservation officers were called to the scene in the Dunsmuir area near Qualicum Bay and subsequently tracked the cougar. They found it in a tree and assessed its condition, which they deemed to be poor.

Riddell said although they won’t know the details until a necropsy is done, he said his first thought is that it was abandoned at a young age. He said it’s possible that the cougar wasn’t taught how to hunt while young, so it resorted to hunting in residential areas.

“The cougar was assessed in a tree and it was assessed to be in very poor health, that cougar was euthanized,” said Riddell. “The cougar was brought back to our office in Nanaimo here and a necropsy will eventually be done on the cougar to see why it was in such poor health.”

Riddell said it’s important for people in the area to know that for the most part, residents are able to coexist with predators. However, he reminds people to keep their dogs on a leash while going on hikes and to be mindful that cougars are around.

“The poor health was certainly the consideration that we use, however a cougar acting the way that it did… that area is rural, but it’s residential. A cougar in the middle of the day to attack a dog when there’s four or five humans standing there painting a house is extremely dangerous behaviour,” he said.

“So that’s why we also euthanized that cougar as it was displaying extremely abnormal behaviour.”

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cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

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