(By Staff Report/Chewelah Independent)
A Chewelah man sighted a cougar on his property on Saturday evening north of Chewelah about four miles on Highline Road.
Kody Karsh said this was the first time he’s seen a cougar where his family lives, but that his neighbors have seen several, including one who spotted a cougar about a mile away last week.
“What happened was my wife and I were standing in my parents’ lawn (our next door neighbor) and our dog was playing in the field in front of us in between our houses,” Karsh said. “I noticed something and saw the cougar was alongside our house in our lawn. It immediately charged into the field towards our dog and they both disappeared behind a tree.”
The dog was frantically barking the whole time, and Karsh ran into his house to grab a firearm for a warning shot.
“When I came back out, the cat was gone and our dog was running back to the house,” Karsh said.
The WDFW recommends if someone encounters a cougar to:
1. Stop, stand tall and don’t run. Pick up small children. A cougar’s instinct is to chase.
2. Don’t approach the animal, especially if it is near a kill or with kittens.
3. Try to appear larger than the cougar and never take your eyes off or turn your back on the animal.
4. If the animal is aggressive, shout, wave your arms and throw rocks.
5. If the cougar attacks, fight back aggressively and stay on your feet.
Cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare, in North America, roughly 25 attacks and 95 non-fatal attacks have been reported in the past 100 years.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife responds to cougar and bear sightings when there is a threat to public safety or property. If it is an emergency, dial 911.
If you experience a cougar or black bear problem, and it is not an emergency, contact the nearest regional Department of Fish and Wildlife office between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.