Wounded cougar attacks dog

Hannah King represents Bainbridge Island in the Miss Seafair pageant.  - Meagan O
Hannah King represents Bainbridge Island in the Miss Seafair pageant.
— image credit: Meagan O'Shea/Staff Photo

John and Meridee Faessler of Bridge Lake had a harrowing welcome home when they returned from visiting friends late in the evening of Jan. 5.

Upon getting out of their vehicle, they were greeted by what Meridee calls a “loud, indescribable noise.”

They quickly discovered that their two-year-old Blue Heeler, Colby, who usually comes out to greet them, was making the noise.

Yelping in pain, Colby was being attacked by a cougar.

“I made myself look big by waving my arms and I ran at him with everything I had, screaming,” said Meridee.

“John had the flashlight in the cougar’s face and it dropped the dog. If we hadn’t come when we did, I’m sure that it would have killed Colby. It had him right by the top of the skull.”

The next morning, after a fresh snowfall, the Faesslers discovered some fresh cougar prints in their yard and contacted the 100 Mile House Conservation Officer Service.

Colin Nivison, a conservation officer with the Ministry of Environment, said the cougar was tracked by hounds, found in a tree, and summarily dispatched.

“In examining the carcass, we found it was an adult male cougar but in very skinny condition, which seemed a little unusual to us because there’s lots of food they normally eat — deer — found in that area,” said Nivison.

Upon further examination, the officers noticed the cougar had a bullet wound in its front shoulder.

Nivison figures the animal had been shot by someone with a high-powered rifle a week to 10 days prior to the attack on the dog. The wound, he said, significantly diminished the animal’s hunting capabilities and presented a dangerous situation because it was hungry and desperate.

For residents of the Cariboo, this attack serves as a notice that any such encounter with wildlife needs to be reported to authorities.

“If they do have an incident, they are required — both for the safety of the community and legally — to report that incident to the Conservation Officer Service so that we can make attempts to find the animal if it’s injured and take care of the situation,” said Nivison.

To report wildlife encounters, or any illegal activities dealing with wildlife, call the 24-hour toll-free line at 1-877-952-7277.

Colby, Meridee re-ports, suffered some serious head wounds. He is receiving a regimen of antibiotics and is on the road to recovery.

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