Cougar shot in yard near Salk Middle School - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cougar shot in yard near Salk Middle School

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife say killing a seven-foot long cougar found in a backyard of a home was the only option to ensure public safety. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife say killing a seven-foot long cougar found in a backyard of a home was the only option to ensure public safety.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife say killing a seven-foot long cougar found in a backyard of a home was the only option to ensure public safety.

The cougar was found in the backyard of a home near Salk Middle School. Fish and Wildlife Sergeant Sprecher says he received several calls from people who spotted it around the city. One person even spotted it a few blocks from the Northtown Mall.

Late Saturday night, homeowner Aaron Armstrong went into his backyard to see why his dogs were barking.

“I was looking more for raccoons or something in my pond, I thought the dogs were chasing that,” Armstrong explained.

However, what he found instead was shocking.

“Looking up and seeing the cougar was quite a surprise, not anything I expected to see in a residential neighborhood,” Armstrong said. “It kind of scared the crap out of me.”

The cougar was perched up in a tree in his backyard.

“It appeared to be about 7 feet long, 75 to 90 pounds, somewhere in there,” Armstrong described.

However, before it got in the tree, it was caught on Armstrong's home surveillance cameras walking across his back deck, where it stopped to look inside his back door that was wide open.

“This is where it walks to, the door that was open, and it got to right in about here looking in,” Armstrong said. “I'm probably 12 feet away.”

Armstrong then called Spokane Police, who called fish and wildlife. The officers decided the only option was to put down the cat.

“One of the reasons the decision was made to put the cat down, is if it was going to call it home, there are just way too many kids and other things at stake,” Armstrong said.

The fish and wildlife sergeant said the cougar's behavior was unusual and it's fear of the city and people was way down. Many families in the neighborhood have small children and pets, so according to officers, killing it was the only way to ensure the safety of everyone in the neighborhood.

“It wasn't the result we wanted with the cat, I mean it's not what we were after, but we got neighbors with five-month-old and four-year-old kids all over the place,” Armstrong said.

A lot of people were also wondering why police did not use a tranquilizer and then relocate it. According to the fish and wildlife sergeant, drugs are not always effective and could take at least ten minutes to kick in. By that time the cougar could have run miles away, making it impossible for officers to track.

 

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