A cougar was shot and killed by a deputy with the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office during an incident at a Cascade Locks residence Friday night.
The sheriff’s office had responded to a call from a mother, who reported that the cougar was adjacent to a vehicle occupied by an infant, preventing her from safely removing the infant from the vehicle.
The cougar was still in close proximity when the deputy arrived at approximately 9:45 p.m. and, at that point, “due to continuous close proximity and the danger presented to the family by the animal’s refusal to leave the area, the deputy shot and killed the cougar,” said the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office (HRCSO) in an official statement.
The animal has been turned over to Oregon State Police Fish & Game. Due to the numerous recent sightings in Cascade Locks and Hood River, the HRCSO has been working closely with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
This incident follows two sightings of cougars in the same neighborhood the previous weekend, as well as another sighting approximately a week before that, according to the HRCSO.
Residents in Hood River, Cascade Locks and the Post Canyon area have reported seeing a cougar pass within 10 feet of their front door, and the sheriff’s office had also taken unconfirmed reports of a domestic animal that was missing. When deputies responded to one of those sightings, the cougar in question demonstrated itself to be highly acclimated to the area, with the deputy going to great lengths to scare the animal off, stated the HRCSO. The cougar was growing increasingly comfortable in the more urban environment, and it had also demonstrated a decrease in its own fear of humans, stated the HRCSO.
While the HRCSO stated that the nature and small geographic area of those reports indicate that this was likely all the same animal, Sheriff Matt English said that he could not confirm that the cougar killed Friday night was the same cougar reported in the earlier sightings.
CAT ENCOUNTER: WHAT TO DO
If you encounter a cougar, the HRCSO advises folks to keep calm, make yourself look as large as possible and back away slowly, keeping the cougar in view and allowing a clear exit for the cougar.
Pick up children and small pets immediately and never run or turn your back, as sudden movements may provoke an attack. Cougar sightings can be reported to 911 or the HRCSO’s non-emergency line, 541-386-2711.