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Teen’s encounter with cougar in Port Moody raises concerns

Click to play video 'Port Moody neighbourhood worries about cougar' Port Moody neighbourhood worries about cougar
Wed, Jul 26: A cougar is prowling a Port Moody neighbourhood, and residents are worried it’s only a matter of time before it goes after a child. Catherine Urquhart reports – Jul 26, 2017

A cougar is roaming around Port Moody and many residents say it’s only a matter of time before it attacks someone.

Madison Hinde, 17, said she was biking the trails behind her Port Moody home last week when she had a close encounter with a cougar.

“I did try backing away from it slowly, not turning my back on it, but when I started to back up it got up and started coming closer to me, so I decided that was not the best idea,” Madison said.

After screaming for a few minutes, she rode away unharmed.

The encounter happened in the Flavelle Park area where a cougar recently attacked a neighbourhood dog.

The wild cats have been spotted in the area for years but Madison’s father Scott said more needs to be done after “my daughter was stalked by this animal.”

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“There should have been warnings and signs at that point, which may have prevented the little dog the other day from being snatched, because people would have had more of a knowledge that this animal is out here.”

Additional warning signs will be posted, according to the City of Port Moody.

Conservation officers are reminding people what to do if they cross paths with a cougar.

“If you encounter a cougar, make yourself look as large as possible,” conservation officer Alicia Stark said. “Don’t turn your back to the cougar. If you can, raise your hands, grab sticks to make yourself look large and frightening.”

She said you should also allow a clear exit for the cat to leave.

Madison said she may carry a can of bear spray with her in the future, just in case.

– With files from Catherine Urquhart