Cougar faces a death sentence if captured

Cougar faces a death sentence if captured

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Traps are set. Warning signs are posted. And the fate of a cougar prowling Corvallis is set: death.

"If caught, the cougar will be put down," Michelle Dennehy with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife told KVAL News. "We do not relocate problem cougars like this because that could move the problem to somebody else’s backyard."

A cougar spotted in Corvallis over the weekend is suspected of mauling a house cat. Wildlife officials have posted warning signs at Wilson Elementary School and at Chip Ross Park, Forest Glen Park and Brandis Park.

ODFW has set traps out in an attempt to catch the cougar.

Cougar attacked cat Friday

On Friday, the cougar mauled a house cat near Sequoia Creek, which runs through a neighborhood near Wilson Elementary School.

The cat survived the attack. | SEE PHOTOS

It's one of three cougar sightings in three days, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"At first, honestly, I was a little skeptical that it really was a cougar," said Melinda Asbury, who lives next to Sequoia Creek, where the cat was attacked.  "But we've heard things that confirm that's what it is."

Asbury said she's told her children to avoid the creek and has been keeping her cats indoors at night.

On Saturday and Sunday, neighbors in another neighborhood nearby spotted the cougar.

Bill Garber took a picture of the cougar in his backyard with a cell phone camera.

"We just built a fence to make sure she's safe playing and now we have a cougar around," said Shuping Arvey, who lives next to Garber.  "I think I will leave her inside or come out with her."

Wilson Elementary School officials are also taking a cautious approach. 

Principal Jeff Brew said they are watching for the big cat, but don't believe it will come to the school grounds because the cougar would have to cross a busy street.  Brew said students were told about the cougar and he's spoken with the parents of students who live close to the creek about the dangers.

The cougar is "a classic example of a problem cougar," said Rick Swart, an ODFW spokesperson.  It's exhibiting troublesome behavior, like attacking pets, appearing during the day in residential areas and appears to ahve no fear of humans.

According to Swart, the cougar is likely living in a one square mile around the Sequoia Creek drainage system.

Biologists are mulling the best way to trap the animal, said Swart.  Once it's trapped, they'll examine the animal.  It may be sick, which could affect where the animal is released.

Asbury hopes the animal is released somewhere safe, like an animal sanctuary. 

"I'm not sure sending it to the wild is safe for it, but something not killing it, if that's possible," she said.  "It's just a wild animal, it's just doing it's thing."