Harsh winter pushes cougars near towns; 3 euthanized

Harsh winter pushes cougars near towns; 3 euthanized

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KAMAS — After one dog was killed and another badly injured by a cougar, the Division of Wildlife Resources is warning the public to keep an eye on pets.

Tuesday, DWR euthanized three cougars after the animals attacked two dogs in the Woodland and Kamas areas. The attacks happened about three quarters of a mile apart. A labrador/blue heeler mix was killed, but a border collie survived the encounter.

Phil Douglas, an official with the DWR, said law requires the DWR to track and euthanize cougars if they attack pets or livestock. The DWR responded quickly to calls of the attacks, tracking the cougars with hounds and euthanizing the cats.

"The Division of Wildlife Resources is charged with being the guardians and custodians, trustees of Utah's wildlife," Douglas told KSL. "So conservation is important to us, but public safety takes precedence there and it's a priority. That's what the situation came down to yesterday."

Douglas said the harsh winter has moved the animals' main source of food — the mule deer — down to winter range closer to town.

"If mountain lions can't find mule deer, they turn to easier prey," he said. "Pets seem to be the most susceptible to these types of things — the ones that are either left out to wander or the ones that are chained and can't escape."

Pet owners should take precautions to protect their pets from becoming prey, the division said.

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