River

Cougar grabs pet in front of horrified owner

STOREY’S BEACH—D’Arcy Deacon is still shaking his head after watching a cougar run off with his beloved Boston terrier.

STOREY’S BEACH—D’Arcy Deacon is still shaking his head after watching a full grown cougar attack, and then run off with his beloved pet, a female Boston terrier named River.

“It happened in front of me,” said Deacon, recalling the March 12 tragedy.

“I was out working in the back yard and just stepped off the deck and was walking to the back of the lot to collect some firewood while the dog was running around the yard.”

Deacon said he watched the dog head to the woodshed and then take off running parallel to the back fence line of his Chatham Avenue property.

“I could see something chasing (River) but couldn’t tell what it was,” said Deacon, who said daylight was quickly bleeding into night.

He wasn’t wrong.

“I quickly realized it was a cougar when it jumped over the (4 ft.) fence and landed on the dog,” said the high school teacher.

The big cat had the 14 to 15 lb River in its jaws.

“It was sort of laying down and pinning River to the ground,” said Deacon.

The shocked man dropped the woodbox, picked up a machete he’d earlier stuck in the ground, and went running at the big cat.

“I got to within about five-feet of the cougar before it looked at me,” Deacon said.

“It stood up and just jumped right over the fence.”

Deacon said the big cat was about six feet into his yard when it jumped and landed about six-feet outside the fence.

“I was shocked when it didn’t let go of the dog.”

Deacon said he was running so fast he “leap-frogged” the fence in pursuit of the cougar that had his dog by the back of the neck in its jaws.

“I followed it into the trees and — there’s a little creek behind the house here — the cougar was so quick it was already across the creek and running parallel to the park.”

Deacon said the cougar disappeared from view soon after.

“I’ve lived on the North Island my whole life and have never seen one like this I have seen a few cougars, but never seen one that big,” he said.

“It was a very big and healthy looking cat.”

Deacon said he talked to a conservation officer who said it wasn’t abnormal behaviour on the part of the cougar.

“He said, ‘We’re in a  rural area and unless something abnormal happens, they weren’t really too concerned about it.’

“I couldn’t understand how a cougar coming into a back yard and taking a pet in front of a person was considered normal or acceptable behaviour for a cat.”

But it is, said the North Island’s lone conservation officer, Tim Schumacher.

“We analyze every cougar encounter and, based on experience and known aggression from the animal, that’s what determines our response,” he said.

“This happened near dusk — a typical hunting time for cougars — at a rural location where there’s lots of bush and where  a cougar will naturally hunt things like deer, raccoons and rabbits.

“If this had happened in the daytime in the middle of downtown Port McNeill or Port Hardy, then we’d be concerned.”

Schumacher said there are also unconfirmed reports a cougar also snatched a house cat. “We haven’t been able to verify that yet, but if there is another sighting of the cougar, then we’ll have to go after it.”

Schumacher is recommending people keep their pets indoors and asks the public to call 1-877-952-7277 line to report cougar sightings.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Build a new pool or fix the old? Port Hardy mayor wades in

‘… whatever we do going forward we want the support of the community’

Fear and ignorance have spiked racism in the province: B.C’s human rights commissioner

Kasari Govender has been virtually interacting with citizens in remote, rural areas to address concerns of discrimination

COVID-19 tests come back negative in remote First Nation community

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read