Officers received a report of the incident, which occurred at approximately 3 p.m., when a cougar reportedly jumped on top of the small dog on a trail on the west side of the lake as hundreds of people were out enjoying the afternoon sunshine.
According to the owner, who contacted the Tri-City News late Monday, the dog was on the path within leash distance of her owner when the cougar attacked, picking the dog up and carrying her down the path.
Acting Sgt. Alicia Stark said the dog was not leashed at the time and said the mishap is a reminder to people to keep their dogs leashed and close to them when they are in the woods because animals like cougars consider them prey.
However, the owner said the cougar "came closer to us than a dog leash" and the fact that the dog wasn't on leash may have saved her life because there was no resistance that could have caused more damage to her dog in the attack.
"I understand that dogs need to be leashed and stay close to their owners. And we always keep our dog very close to us. She was right close to us, just sniffing on the path."
The cougar has not been sighted since and the trail remains open.
COUGAR WARNING SIGNS POSTED
However, signs warning people about the cougar in the area have been posted, Stark said.
This isn’t the first time cougars have been spotted in the area and to help people understand the big cat and how to behave around them, a local group is hosting an online information seminar tonight, Feb. 8, featuring a fish and wildlife instructor providing information.
The talk “Cougar in our back yard, co-existing with North America’s biggest cat,” takes place online at 7 p.m., and a recorded video will be available on the Mossom Creek website for people to watch later if they miss the live event.
Tracy Green, who is with the Burrard Inlet Marine Enhancement Society that runs the Mossom Creek hatchery and education centre, said the cougar information talk is a response to the number of online reports and is being held to help people be responsible around the animals.
“We've seen a lot of activity on social media about local cougar sightings and interactions and we want to make sure people learn more about cougar behaviour and what they can do as a resident living in an area where cougars are present,” Green told The Tri-City News in an email.
BCIT WILDLIFE SAFETY EXPERT TO SPEAK
The presenter is Tom Saare, an instructor with BCIT’s Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation program who teaches wildlife safety workshops to students in the Renewable Resources programs at BCIT and to outside industry clients.
The online talk is free and conducted virtually on Zoom.
To report a conflict with wildlife that threatens public safety call 1-877-952-7277 To find out more about cougars visit WildsafeBC.