British Columbia

Dog recovering from surgery after cougar attack in Port Alberni, B.C.

Conservation officers are using their canine unit to track a cougar after it attacked a dog on Wednesday evening in an RV park in Port Alberni, B.C.

Pet owners reminded to keep pets on a leash, be aware of surroundings, follow cougar safety tips

Alaska the dog was attacked by a cougar in Port Alberni, B.C. on Wednesday. (Submitted by Mark Payne)

Conservation officers are using their canine unit to track a cougar after it attacked a dog on Wednesday evening in an RV park in Port Alberni, B.C., a small city surrounded by forest on Vancouver Island.

The dog underwent surgery after the attack, and is expected to make a full recovery. 

Owner Mark Payne was sitting at a picnic table in a vacant site across from his lot, while his nine-year-old Boston terrier-French bulldog cross, named Alaska, ran in a neighbouring field and relieved herself one last time before they settled in for the evening. 

Suddenly, he heard her growl. He looked over, and saw a paw swipe out from the cedar hedge that separates the RV sites. Before he knew what was happening, he said, a cougar pounced, grabbed his dog and ran. 

"It just happened so fast, it was so violent," said Payne, while waiting for Alaska to get out of surgery. 

He said the cougar stopped, pinned the dog, and started biting at her head, neck, and back. Payne said he ran over and kicked the cougar several times in the ribs and head, until it released Alaska and ran off.

Alaska suffered several bites, including one pictured here, during the attack. (Submitted by Mark Payne)

The cougar clawed Payne's leg when he kicked it, but he said he only received minor cuts — and was more worried about his dog. 

"You don't think about it, you just jump in to protect."

Payne said he and a neighbour performed first aid on Alaska, who had puncture wounds and was missing a chunk of flesh on her back. They used gauze and duct tape to stop bleeding. 

It was too late to get to a vet, so Payne and his dog spent a sleepless night on the couch before heading to Nanaimo Thursday morning. 

Upon examination, the veterinarian found the dog had no internal injuries, and would make a full recovery after surgery to stitch up her wounds. 

Mark Payne lives in Port Alberni with his dog, Alaska. They were outside at dusk when Alaska was attacked by a cougar. (Submitted by Mark Payne)

In a statement, a spokesperson for the B.C. Conservation Officer Service said officers are attempting to track the cougar, and are asking locals to stay away from the trails in the Timberlane Road area.

They're also reminding people in Port Alberni to keep pets on leash, be aware of their surroundings, and follow other cougar safety tips

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathryn Marlow

Journalist

Kathryn Marlow is a reporter for CBC Victoria. She covers stories across Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and the Sunshine Coast. Follow her on twitter @KathrynMarlow.

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