In Springfield, Oregon a local resident claims a cougar shot and killed by police presented no danger at all to her children and posed no threat to her family and neighbors.
On July 25, a young cougar had been spotted in a residential area when police brought a tracker dog and chased the cat up into a tree. Officers fired a shot, but only wounded her. The cougar then climbed into another tree where she was shot again and killed. Police stated they had consulted the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who told them the only safe option was to kill the 70-pound cat, citing the animal’s daytime behavior could lead to the death of livestock or a danger to children.
Wildlife experts from the ODFW stated the cats are very territorial and the only viable option was to kill her, however it is believed this cougar became disoriented and may have come out looking for food in the heat of the summer according to KeziNews. The cougar had been reported traveling across town for days looking for water sources; there had been no reports of pets or humans attacked.
Although it is too late for this beautiful cat, there is another side to this tragedy told by an eyewitness. On Rikki Erwin’s Facebook page, she questions why the media coverage swayed so far from the truth emphasizing killing the cat was a “bad decision.”
“That cougar did not stalk or even come close to my children, and my children were not playing in a pool. My children were safe in my home the second we heard that it was on the tracks. This situation could have and should have been handled in a humane way,” Rikki wrote.
The cougar posed no threat that day, and even after she was shot the first time, did not try to attack. Instead the cat tried desperately to escape and defended herself only by running up another tree.
“She could have easily tried to attack the tracking dog or the officers and she didn’t. She fled.”
“My kids watched out the window thinking they were going to tranquilize and relocate her, but instead they watched this poor scared wild cat get shot and fall to its back and try to get to safety just to be senselessly killed.”
Sadly, the children have been traumatized at how this tragic case of a wild animal unlucky enough to have wandered out of the forests as wildlife continues to be pushed out of their habitats. Many backyards used to belong to the wild animals.
“…And the officers knew they handled it improperly that’s why they were so rude to my kids’ dad when he got a picture of the cougar. That is why he is the only one that was able to get a photo. This beautiful creature was only about a year and a half old. So sad.”
How much is the fault of the public? Should humans be more responsible for discouraging wildlife from entering their communities simply by not leaving pet food outside, leaving pets to roam outside unattended, leaving birdseed on the ground and leaving wood piles and dense vegetation as places for wildlife to hide? Most wildlife, entering into populated communities, are “opportunistic” and will take food where it is easiest to find.
Trapping, killing or relocating wildlife will continually repeat itself unless humans change their own habits.
Rest in peace cougar.
(Photo of cougar killed by police via Facebook Rikki Erwin)
Read more on National Pet Rescue by clicking here.
Dog left outside died in the heat – read more here.
Handsome shepherd scared and confused and in need of help at busy shelter – read more here.