Cougar euthanized after killing 2 pets in Vancouver Island village

The cougar after it killed a small dog and carried it into an open garage on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021. (Denise Roberge)

Conservation officers have killed a cougar on northern Vancouver Island after the animal killed two household pets and attempted to raid a chicken coop.

Sightings of the cougar began in Port Alice earlier this month. The predator first killed a house cat on Sept. 3, then attempted to "access" a chicken coop on Sept. 5, conservation officers said in a statement.

"House cats loose at night can be an attractant to cougars as they frequent green space areas adjacent to houses," the statement reads. "House cats closely resemble a cougar's natural prey - raccoons, marten, mink, etc."

During the chicken coop incident, the animal appeared "reluctant to leave," forcing the homeowner to throw a hammer at it, according to conservation officers.

Finally, on Sept. 7, the cougar killed a small dog and carried it into an open carport, officers said, noting that the animal appeared to have shifted from natural prey to domestic animals.

Conservation officers used tracking hounds to locate the cougar, which was still in town, close to the home where the dog had been killed. Officers killed the cougar, which they said posed "a serious public safety threat."

Port Alice residents believe there may be a second cougar in the area, conservation officers said. They're advising the public to call in all cougar sightings to the provincial Report All Poachers and Polluters phone line at 877-952-7277.