November 10, 2016 8:53 pm

Recent cougar attacks on dogs, horses and goats spur warning for southern Alberta residents

WATCH ABOVE: The MD of Foothills is trying to educate acreage owners near Priddis after spike in cougar attacks this fall. A bold cat - or cats - has killed some farm animals and threatened pets. As Mia Sosiak reports, that’s left residents on edge.

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Officials in a southern Alberta rural municipality are trying to educate acreage owners near Priddis after at least eight attacks on dogs, horses and goats in the area since the summer.

The Municipal District of Foothills says a bold cat – or cats – has killed some farm animals and threatened pets, leaving residents on edge.

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“We were banging on the door first and he swung the door hard open and the cat was just coming along here and just sauntering right on and off the deck,” Priddis area dog owner Tina Hayhurst said. “Obviously at that point we didn’t know where the dog was.”

A cougar first cornered Hayhurst’s Siberian Husky on her porch in August, then again in late October—when it stood over top of the terrified dog. The pet, named Shadow, escaped the two cougar encounters with very minor punctures to her neck.

“When three humans stood right in front of it, it thought about it (albeit for a few milliseconds or a few seconds) and that’s my fear—is that its fear of humans is getting lower and lower,” Hayhurst said.

A cougar also killed a miniature horse in the area a few months ago.

High River District Fish and Wildlife officer Phil Marasco said those cats were “removed” but it’s not clear if the cougars responsible for the latest attacks are still in the area.

The M.D. of Foothills has fanned out information to hundreds of area residents through a rural crime watch program, urging them to watch pets and kids closely.

Residents are advised to keep animals inside at night when possible and carry bear spray. The M.D. is also hosting an upcoming educational workshop on cougar behaviour and how to reduce attractants.

The date and location have yet to be confirmed.

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