'Sad to put an animal down like this because they are so beautiful'

'Sad to put an animal down like this because they are so beautiful' »Play Video
A female cougar hangs from a wrought-iron fence west of Eugene June 24, 2010. KVAL.com photo

NEAR EUGENE -- Carol Schroeder has a herd of 21 bison living in her backyard.

"I normally wake up to see where the buffalo are at," Schroeder said.

But that's not what woke her up Thursday morning. She woke up and saw a female cougar caught on her fence.

"I thought, nobody is going to believe me," Schroeder said.

Schroeder watched from inside the house as the animal tried to get away. But the cougar was stuck. Schroeder called Oregon State Police. Trooper Ed Imholt responded. He called the Department of Fish and Wildlife, but their wildlife biologist was an hour away and unable to respond.

The departments decided to kill the animal.

"It's sad to put an animal down like this because they are so beautiful," Imholt said. "But it's to protect people."

Without knowing how the cougar would react to the shot, Schroeder and her friends moved inside.

The bison were taken to another pasture.

"They don't like the sound of gunshots," Schroeder said.
    
A few seconds later, the tense situation was over. Schroeder and her husband have lived in the house for 35 years. She said they've never seen a cougar on their property.

"I'll be a little more careful when I walk around the yard," Schroeder said.

Michelle Dennehy is a spokesperson ODFW. Dennehy told KVAL News the cougar was either going to die in the wild or by euthanasia and there was no chance of it recovering from the injuries. Dennehy added that injured animals tend to be dangerous and pose an even greater risk to people and other animals.