Belinda Lucoe was at home with her family on their rural property near Elk Lake in Saanich Tuesday afternoon, when her daughter looked outside and noticed their 3-year-old Siberian husky Mika hiding behind a nearby car.
“She noticed [Mika] was really scared, trying to peak around the car, backing up, so we started to walk towards the foyer and looked out the front window and noticed just an absolutely massive cat just sitting right in front of her then slowly approaching her,” said Belinda’s son Jarrod Lucoe.
Jarrod grabbed his phone and caught the next incredible moments on video.
“I was honestly extremely scared for her and my dad’s fight or flight action just took effect,” he said. “I’ve never heard him scream like that in my life, he kind of sounds like Scooby-Doo.”
Many who’ve seen the video have credited young Mika for her recall skills. Her owners say that was likely only part of what was at play.
“I think she reacted then all of a sudden as she got closer we were all screaming and she probably sensed our fear and then probably had some fear as well is what I’m thinking,” said Belinda.
Conservation officer Peter Pauwels says in the video the cougar’s actions appear as though it is intimidated rather than about to attack. He says encounters like this are actually more common than you’d think it’s just rare they’re caught on camera. And he says the dog’s owners did everything right.
Though they’ve lived on the wooded property for 20 years, the Lucoe’s say this is the first time they’ve actually seen a cougar. They called Saanich Police and sent them the video to make sure everyone in the area, which includes popular Bear Hill and Elk Lake trails, was aware.
“We share the environment with large animals such as cougars and bears so residents must take into consideration that encounters with these animals are very likely,” reads a statement from Saanich Police.
Cougar encounter near Bear Hill earlier this afternoon. A good reminder if you live in rural Saanich to be alert and watch your pets when outside. This Husky has excellent recall! #Saanich pic.twitter.com/9koucxrxpl
— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) December 22, 2021
Saanich Police are once again advising residents to be aware of their surroundings, particularly in rural areas, following the recent cougar encounter.
Police also recommend that owners keep an eye on their pets when outside or keep them on a leash when possible.
Residents are advised to limit any outside food sources such as garbage and compost as well, which may act as attractants to large animals.
If any Saanich residents encounter a cougar in an urban area, it is recommended that they call the BC Conservation Officer Service.