A cougar that was seen wandering a Victoria neighbourhood has been shot and killed by Victoria police officers.
Video sent to CHEK News shows police surveying an area, then a loud gunshot can be heard.
Further video then shows officers carrying the cat out from where it was hiding.
The cougar was first seen in the 400 block of Dunedin Street around 5 a.m., then near Waterfront Crescent around 5:30 a.m. It wasn’t seen for hours until a resident reported seeing the cat around 3:45 p.m.
Around 4:30 p.m., video was sent to CHEK News showing the officers shooting the cougar in the 300 block of Waterfront Crescent.
“Given the close proximity to a school and preschool during care hours, the amount of people and residences in the area, and the amount of time it would take for Conservation officers to arrive, the risk to public safety was determined to be high and a decision was made to dispatch the cougar,” VicPD said in a release.
“Situations where police are required to dispatch an animal are extremely rare. We understand that people may feel strongly about this animal and its well-being, and we can assure you that this decision was not made lightly; this was a difficult decision for the officers involved. However, the safety and security of the community is our priority.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change says its conservation officers had not arrived on scene at the time of the shooting.
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UPDATE | The cougar from this morning has been spotted in the 300-block of Waterfront Cres. Conservation has been contacted & we are asking the public to avoid the area at this time. #yyj
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) November 22, 2023
VicPD File 23-43261
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) November 21, 2023
In the event you encounter a cougar, the B.C. government advises you remain calm as the cougar is likely just passing through and will hopefully move on, feed pets indoors to avoid attracting the cougar, phone the conservation officer call centre (1-877-952-7277) if you believe the cougar is hanging around, determine if there are any poorly managed attractants drawing the cougar, and avoid feeding the cougar as it is an offence under the Wildlife Act to do so.
If you see a cougar, the BC SPCA advises you make yourself look big by standing tall, raising your arms and spreading your legs, maintain eye contact and don’t turn your head, make loud noises, and don’t leave until the cougar leaves.
Anyone with small children or a dog should pick them up and keep them close in front of you during a cougar encounter. The SPCA says moving them behind you runs the risk of them distracting you, or taking your attention away from the cougar.