EUGENE, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has confirmed a cougar attack on livestock in Eugene over the weekend.
John Schetzsle lives just off Floral Hill Drive. He says his girlfriend’s family has been living on this property for years with no problems. So, it was as big of a surprise to him, as anyone, to wake up to find what had happened to his pets.
Last week, Schetzsle had four chickens and two goats. But now, it’s just Paprika the chicken, and Schetzsle says it’s all because of a cougar.
“I’m 90 percent positive it’s a cougar, because it’s been using trees to climb and jump over the fence and to even jump back over the fence with the animals,” said Schetzsle.
He says the evidence is in the trails of feathers, claw marks on the trees and the several clear tracks left by the culprit. ODFW says a cougar had indeed made its way onto the property just behind Hendrick’s Park. Schetzsle says local law enforcement told him he can shoot the cougar if he sees it, but he’s not sure how safe that would be and local organizations like Cascadia Wildlands say there are other options.
Cascadia Wildlands Campaign Director Josh Laughlin says, “It’s critically important for people who own say hobby livestock like a couple goats or chickens in their backyard to predator proof them and take the steps needed to reduce any potential conflict.”
One way Laughlin says this can be done is by creating sturdy housing that your animals can be locked in overnight. Schetzsle says though he understands their message, for him, the advice has come too late.
“The more important thing is that I lost my pets out here that I’m hanging out with everyday. They don’t understand those were my buddies out here,” says Laughlin.
ODFW is encouraging people in the area to be cautious and keep their dogs on leash. To date, there have not been any confirmed cases of cougar attacks on humans in Oregon.