Springfield family speaks out after seeing cougar in backyard

Nicholas Bryan, 12. and his sister Marisa were in their backyard Tuesday afternoon by their pool when they saw the wild animal by their fence.

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 7:15 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A Springfield family is speaking out after spotting a cougar in their backyard, and they believe Springfield police did the right thing killing it.

Nicholas Bryan, 12, and his sister Marisa were in their backyard by their pool Tuesday afternoon when they saw the wild animal by their fence.

"All of a sudden it jumped up and I ran inside, and Marisa stayed in the pool," Bryan said.

Their mom, Jennifer Easton, said she called police, and soon after they arrived, she warned neighbors about the possible danger. She told them to keep their children and pets inside.

Later a sniper with Springfield police shot and killed the cougar after it was found nearby in a tree.

"It was very scary because it could've ended up very bad for one or both kids or anybody in the neighborhood for that matter," Easton said. "So we are very fortunate that animal control came out and took care of it. It was a sad ending for the cougar, but it was the best one I feel for our neighborhood."

Some neighbors are upset the animal wasn't tranquilized and relocated, but Christopher Yee, a wildlife biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said that wasn't an option.

Yee said cougars are extremely territorial, making them hard to put back into the wilderness. On top of that, Yee said tranquilizers can take minutes to take effect and sometimes not work at all. Yee also said a drugged animal can be even more dangerous.

"It doesn't have it's entire faculties about it, and it may run into a group of people that are standing there watching this unfold, not realizing until it's right next to an individual and lash out and defend itself," Yee said.

Yee said he believes the cougar was a juvenile male that just started to fend for itself and that the animal was lost and suffering from malnutrition. Yee added that the animal was 10 to 15 pounds underweight.

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