Two cougars were put down by a Fish and Wildlife officer after they attacked and killed two dogs in the Canmore area.

On Thursday, a dog was killed by a cougar at the Silvertip Golf Resort and a second dog was killed on Sunday morning in Canmore when the dog was let outside by the owner.

On Sunday, a wildlife officer tracked down the cougar, an adult female and shot it.  When he returned to the scene of the attack, he found another younger cougar and says it held its ground so he had to shoot it as well.

“This was a behavior, it's now typical of a cougar behavior, to potentially take a dog that could have come off a leash or to enter a backyard or draw a dog out of the backyard and then kill them and then feed on them,” said David Dickson, Fish and Wildlife officer.

It is believed the cougars were working together and had been hunting pets as a source of food. 

“We now have a habituated cougar that feels comfortable walking around houses, being close to people and targeting dogs and eating them as well, not just killing them. We now have a cougar that is now just one step away from possibly making contact with a person,” said Dickson.

Dickson says the big cats had lost their fear of humans and Fish and Wildlife officers had no choice but to kill them.

“In this point no, It’s gonna be displaced, it’s gonna keep moving until it finds another community and it would be totally irresponsible to move it,” said Dickson. “It’s a decision that has to be made. We look at it from a public safety point of view. We removed a threat to the community that may have ramped up to a larger threat."

There are a few precautions people can take to reduce encounters:

  • Supervise children playing outdoors and don’t let children play near dense vegetation. Do not leave small children unattended.
  • If you want to venture into the woods, we recommend you travel in groups of three or more and go during daylight hours only.
  • Remember, cougars are solitary animals and are most active at dusk and dawn.
  • Free-roaming pets may attract and be attacked by cougars. Keep your dog on a leash at all times. Walk your pets during the day and avoid wooded areas. Bring your pets inside at night.
  • Don’t leave out any animal attractants such as pet food and garbage. Always use the wildlife-proof garbage bins.
  • Talk to your children about what to do to if they encounter a cougar.

If you spot a cougar you should:

  • Do not approach the animal.
  • Face the cougar, and retreat slowly – do NOT run or play dead.
  • Try to appear bigger by holding your arms or an object above your head.
  • Immediately pick up small children.
  • Be aggressive. Shout, wave a stick or throw rocks to deter an attack.

Wildlife officers say cougars are common in the area and people should always keep pets on a leash in the parks.