A story broke late last week of a cougar that had to be put down after entering a home. A woman in Vernon came home from a walk to find a cougar in her living room, with one of her dog’s chew toys in its mouth. The conservation officer was eventually forced to kill the cougar.
The most shocking, and saddest, part of this story is not that the cougar died; it’s the vitriol that has been spewed at the conservation officer on media websites carrying the article.
“Wish the cougar would have gotten one of them first.”
Although this incident did not happen on the Island, whenever one does, similar comments flood the Internet. Such comments are not only uncalled for, they are ignorant.
The bottom line is, conservation officers are exactly that: CONSERVATION officers. They are not hired to kill wildlife, and to a person, they will say it’s the part of their job they despise the most.
Killing an animal is a last resort for them.
In this case, that cougar had become so comfortable around human scent that it entered a home and was sprawled out on a living room rug!
Yes, it was a chew toy in the cat’s mouth. It could just as easily have been a toddler.
This is not a deer, people. This is a wild carnivore. It will attack, kill and eat anything smaller than it, or perceived weaker than it. That includes humans. Cougars may be “beautiful, majestic” animals, as one poster described; but they are also vicious predators that would just as soon try to turn you into their next meal, as walk the other way. There are more than enough documented cases of cougar attacks on humans to support that statement.
As for the animal sanctuary argument, such places should only be used to bring an animal back to health, with the goal of releasing it back into the wild. That was not the issue with this cat. This cat had crossed a line – a line where animal conservation loses… to human preservation.
Let the conservation officers do their jobs. They are trained professionals and a very dangerous profession it is. We should not be judging them or second-guessing their decisions from the safety of our sofas.