Conservation officers have euthanized a cougar in the small community of Port Alice on Vancouver Island after it killed a cat and a small dog.
Jason Yunker woke up Tuesday morning to his four-year-old daughter trying to tell him about what she saw in their carport.
"My little girl came up to us and said, 'There’s a kitty and a puppy in our garage.’ And we kind of ignored her and just put it off,” he says.
The youngster wouldn’t stop asking her dad to go see it.
"We didn’t think anything of it because she’s only four years old and she wouldn’t let it go, so finally I went, ‘OK, I better get up and have a look,’” Yunker recalls.
He walked outside and entered the carport around 7 a.m. At first, he thought he had seen a dog.
“It looked like a dog, a golden lab or a golden retriever. I said, ‘Hey dog.’ And right when I said that, the neighbour across the street yelled at me and said, ’That ain’t no dog!’”
When the cougar turned around, it had a dog in its mouth. (It turned out to be a neighbour's dog.)
Yunker backed away and quickly went inside to his four children and wife Angela. He shut the door and told everyone to stay inside.
"It took off into the bushes behind our house and we ran to the back deck and we saw it go into the bushes and it hunkered down and stopped moving... My wife got on the phone right away with the conservation officers,” he says.
A team of conservation officers out of Campbell River travelled to the area and found the cougar in the bushes.
The animal was euthanized as it posed a serious public safety threat, the Conservation Officer Service (CSO) tells Glacier Media.
Last week, on Sept. 3, the CSO says a house cat was killed at night in a yard. On Sept. 5, a cougar attempted to access a chicken coop and was reluctant to leave even after a homeowner threw a hammer at it.
The CSO says house cats can draw in cougars (especially at night), as they resemble natural prey.
Yunker wants to thank the conservation officers who took the time to educate the local neighbourhood children about cougars and what to do if they see one.
"The conservation officer was absolutely amazing,” he says. “They did an excellent job and were professional.”
He adds his family is thinking about their neighbour who lost their small dog.
"Our heart goes out for her big time,” he says.
The public is asked to call in all sightings (the RAPP number is 1-877-952-7277). It is possible there may have been two cougars in the area.