A public alert has been issued by the Town of Ladysmith after a cougar was seen chasing down a dog Monday morning on a popular hiking and running trail.
The incident occurred shortly before 10 a.m. as two women were walking their dogs about 1.5 kilometres south of the Holland Creek bridge.
Marty Steen was out for a run on the trail when he went past the women, who were walking one canine next to them while the other was off-leash 50 feet up the trail.
Steen said it was only a few steps later when he heard a dog hollering somewhere in the distance.
“As I’m running up the trail there’s a cougar chasing a dog towards me,” said Steen. “I probably got within five feet of it and the big cat saw me and slowly stopped and turned and went up the trail. That cat was probably six inches from that dog chasing it right on its tail.”
The dog appeared to be a German Shorthaired Pointer and was about 60 lbs. It was well out of sight of the women and easily outmatched by the predator cat.
Steen said he’s seen plenty of cougars but never been that close, especially on the Holland Creek trail.
“I think he was sort of startled too because we both came around a blind corner and we both saw each other and the dog just blows past me. He was running for his life,” Steen said.
Both women were obviously shaken up by the incident and Steen hiked with them back out to the parking lot.
“They were scared and never even thought of having their dog mauled by a cougar,” Steen added.
He then called the RCMP to have them inform both local conservation officers and the Town about the incident.
“Any advice I have for people there is to keep dogs on a leash and don’t let them out of your sight,” Steen said.