Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Young female cougar killed in Wash. town

staff writer

ELLENSBURG — Department of Fish and Wildlife officials killed a 2-year-old female cougar Sunday night that was chased up a tree by two hound dogs at 1602 Bonnie Lane, inside a residential neighborhood in Ellensburg city limits.

The 90-pound cat was discovered Sunday at 8:13 p.m. when resident Kathy Makus heard her hound dog, Hobbes, barking furiously up a tree.

"I looked out there and saw this dark shape and said, 'My that's awfully big for a raccoon,'" Makus said.

She called the police and officers soon arrived, followed by two fish and wildlife officers.

Sightings of the cougar had been reported for three of the last four days, according to Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Mike Sprecher, who made the shot. Sprecher said the multiple sightings were a cause for concern among wildlife officials that if tranquilized, the cougar would eventually return to the area.

Sprecher said euthanasia is usually the last option for similar situations, but given the time of day and public safety, Sprecher felt it was the best option.

"Often times we will try to dart and relocate," he said. "But this situation didn't lend itself to those circumstances."

Sprecher said he arrived shortly after the call and was finished by 8:45 p.m.

"We want people to report these things because we're trying to keep track of where cats show up," Sprecher said. "People can call and let us know what they're seeing." news/doc46ae5cd0a71e0671994357.txt

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