West Van dog recovering after backyard cougar attack

A nine-year-old dog is recuperating from multiple puncture and scratch wounds after it was attacked by a cougar in a West Vancouver backyard Monday.

Nikki Johnson says she and her fiancée were house sitting at her uncle's place in the 600 block of Stevens Drive when the family dog, Grayson, wandered down the sloped backyard which borders Hadden Creek.

"We were outside mowing the lawn... and my boyfriend asks where's Grayson?" said Johnson. "Right away, he ran to the backyard and yells Grayson's name and hears a very loud hiss-slash-growl."

"Grayson runs to my fiancée and then a cougar pops up out of the bushes and looks at my fiancée eye to eye ...before jumping back in the bushes." 

Four coyotes too

Johnson says the encounter was made to feel even more surreal because four coyotes appeared in the backyard at the same time as the cougar. 

"They were all watching from the bottom. It was like all the wildlife came out at once," she said.

Conservation officer Kent Popjes confirmed the dog's injuries are consistent with a cougar encounter. 

"I attended the veterinary clinic ... there were several punctures on its hind end," said Popjes. "This is relatively uncommon. Generally, we get reports of cougars and they turn out to be bobcats."

"Any time we have a cougar sighting in an urban area, we definitely are going to action it and determine if the behaviour escalates," he said.

Popjes said people who live in the area need to be extra cautious and should consider fencing their yards. .

"It's a wildlife corridor. Animals — cougars, bears, coyotes, deer — will move up and down the [creek] at any given time so parents should be aware of that and keep pets on a leash and kids monitored at all times," he said. 

Unsafe feeling

Johnson says Grayson should recover but that the family is considering moving from the rental property because it now feels unsafe. 

"The conservation office told us it's unfinished business. [The cougar] tasted the dogs blood, his prey got away and if he is hungry or hurt he'll do whatever it takes to get what he wants," she said. 

"The scary thing is my cousins will be going outside with the dog on leash and they'll be at risk as well. And then we'll have to drive off the property for the dog to go pee. It's not the life we want for the dog, It needs to run. It needs to be active."