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Cougar attacks dog in backyard, Springfield woman says

Tasha Smith, who lives on S. 70th Street near Main Street says the attack happened just after 12:30 Wednesday morning.

Posted: Oct 9, 2019 6:27 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2019 5:05 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A Springfield woman says she is thankful that her dog was not seriously hurt after a cougar attacked it in her backyard.

Tasha Smith, who lives on S. 70th Street near Main Street says the attack happened just after 12:30 Wednesday morning.

She said she had just gotten home and had let her dog out and went to her bedroom. That's when she said she heard whimpering and a growl coming from the backyard.

"I just heard this evil growl, and I've heard a cougar before, and then in the midst of that growl, my dog just starts yelping," Smith said

Smith said she grabbed a gun and ran into the backyard yelling, and MaKiaya, a black lab boxer mix, ran inside. Then she saw the cougar jumping over her backyard fence, running away. She said MaKiaya suffered some minor scratches and is OK. 

"That's my dog. I love her," Smith said. "I've heard about cougars here in this area, but I never thought I'd have to experience it myself, but it's scary."

Christopher Yee, a wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said they have not started an investigation yet to determine if a cougar is to blame. He said residents need to be aware that wild animals can go after pets. Yee said one way to keep nighttime predators away is installing motion-activated lights.

"If an animal using the cover the darkness to get close to a residence and then all of sudden, a light goes on, it may be enough to cause the animal to go back to a dark area and avoid that illuminated area," Yee said.

Smith said she's looking into getting motion-activated lights and said she'll make sure an adult is present when MaKiaya goes out into the backyard at night again. 

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