Dogs survive cougar attack in Ladysmith, family asks for help with vet bills

On Oct. 22, Mary Carr’s two dogs, Casey and JoJo were attacked by a juvenile cougar on her property on Takala Road. Carr and a lover intervened right because the cougar was poised over Casey. “The cougar was scared off once they saw an individual, and heard us calling for Casey,” Carr said.

Carr rushed the dogs to Chase River Animal Hospital. One was treated for relatively minor wounds, but the opposite had to be treated at Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Vancouver. It underwent an eight-hour surgery to get rid of a bone fragment from its brain. OneOne of its eyes has also been removed. “I thought Casey was dead, and that we were lucky that JoJo wasn’t, but when she showed signs of life we just went for it. It’s been a surprise for everyone, even the vets, they don’t know of any dogs that have survived a cougar attack,” Carr said. The Carrs are ecstatic that Casey is predicted to recover; however, the family incurred $30,000 in vet bills for her life-saving care. “We racked up our credit cards to the limit to the purpose that once we were returning from Langley… we realized we didn’t account for the ferry trip back and that we needed money for the ferries,” Carr said. “It was only $90, but we limited out our accounts. We scraped together whatever we could just to urge on the ferry.” A GoFundMe was found out by the Carr family to hide some of the expenses. As of Wednesday, Nov. 11, it had reached quite $7,000 of its $10,000 goal.

“It’s getting up there. I used to be overwhelmed by the response. We’ve been getting donations from everywhere the planet … Dog lovers from everywhere the world are seeing this, and they’ve been very supportive. It’s been heartwarming to ascertain ,” Carr said. Conservation officer Robin Sano was called bent destroying the cougar and said once cougars pose a threat to humans, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service has little choice but to shoot them. The Conservation Officer Service says it only destroys animals once they pose a risk to public safety. “Because of the character of the injuries on the animals, we determined it had been within the best interest of public safety to seek out that cat.” Due to the rare nature of cougar attacks, Sano said that precautions like keeping animals under supervision during a fenced-in area and keeping animals on a leash can prevent cougar attacks. “From a security perspective there’s a couple of things: people should avoid walking alone and will resound when they’re walking. Pets should get on leash and on top of things within the wilderness. Tons of our sightings are early morning, at dawn, or at dusk. So, avoid hiking or using trails with poor sight lines at dawn and dusk when the damaging predators are most active,” Sano said. “If you encounter a cougar, keep calm, never run. If you've got young children pick them up. Make yourself look as big as possible, and slowly retreat while keeping within the cougar’s view.” Sano suggests carrying an air horn, or a bear spray daunt predators; however, he said that clapping, making yourself large, and throwing rocks have proven to be the foremost effective methods of deterring predators in his experience. Cougars’ main food source is the deer, which are abundant on Vancouver Island. As long as their food source remains intact, cougars should pose little risk to humans and their pets, Cos say. Sano said that the attack on Casey and JoJo was a rare and isolated incident. “Cougars are very reclusive, they typically don’t want to be involved people … but people got to remember we are in cougar and bear country.”

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