Cougar Kills Puppy Outside Pet Owner's Window

A puppy has been killed by a cougar outside the pet owner's home in Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

The wild cat attacked the Labrador Retriever after jumping over a barbed wire fence, and was chased away from the property by the owner and her neighbors. It has since been spotted in the area.

Laurie Tomin was working at home on Friday evening, when she heard a squeal outside her window.

"I jumped up and I looked out the window and I saw a cougar with a puppy in its mouth and the puppy was dead. It was limp," she said (via Chek News).

The large cat ran away after Tomin rushed outside to retrieve her puppies, with several of her neighbors lending a hand. One of them managed to bear-spray the cougar.

"They're not supposed to be this close and the cougar is just doing its thing. It's just being a cougar right? It's as innocent as one of these puppies," said Tomin, who hadn't previously had an encounter with a cougar, despite living in Cowichan Valley for 14 years.

"It's losing its territory and it's coming closer to us and I guess it's something that we have to talk about on the island because we do have a high density of cougars here."

Cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare, with the wild cats instead preying on livestock and small animals, such as deer, chickens, rabbits, raccoons and coyotes.

Attacks on domestic pets are relatively infrequent, as cougars, which can exceed 8 feet in length and weigh more than 150 pounds, tend to avoid humans.But they can perceive pets as prey.

In March, two dogs in nearby Port Moody and Anmore lost their lives to cougar attacks. One of them was killed by the predator itself, while the other had to be put down because of the severity of its injuries.

A pair of cougars that were suspected to be behind the attacks were subsequently euthanized, with local authorities telling local news outlet News 1130 "the risk to the public was far too great."

In May, a cougar broke into a property in San Bruno, California, after apparently spotting several taxidermy heads through the window. It's believed that the animal was trying to hunt them.

"[The cougar] went up in the living room and then, you know, he felt trapped, so he was running around, he knocked over a TV and couple of things," said the homeowner, who managed to shepherd the animal back out of the house shortly afterwards.

Fences aren't a particularly effective deterrent unless they're enclosed, since cougars are excellent climbers and are capable of jumping a remarkable 18 feet.

Instead, the Mountain Lion Foundation recommends installing motion detection lights outside properties, which can startle the predators, as well as feeding pets indoors.

A cougar sitting with its mouth open
A stock image shows a cougar, not related to the animal that was involved in the incident. The wild cats tend to hunt livestock, but can also perceive domestic pets as prey. Karel Bock/iStock