Some Camas residents pack heat after cougar kills dog

Some Camas residents pack heat after cougar kills dog »Play Video
KATU photo.

CAMAS, Wash. - Cougars are big and dangerous, and we're seeing them a lot recently - both out in the wild and in our own back yards.

One was spotted earlier this week by the Ronald McDonald House near Oregon Health & Science University and two days ago, folks in Camas saw one for the second time in a week.

Now, some of those neighbors in Camas are taking extreme measures to protect themselves.

When Whitney Hines puts her dogs out, they stay on a leash. And now if she goes out with them at night, an antique .22 comes with her.

"I don't want to harm an animal but I if I had to, I would," Hines said.

Last week, one of her family's other dogs, Woody, was killed by a cougar in a neighbor's yard just across the street. And Hines isn't the only one in her gated community to take up arms.

Neighbors tell us another woman has started walking her dog with a gun in tow. It's something everyone in the community understands, even if they don't agree.

"I hope no one shoots this cougar because they really are so beautiful and they were here first," said neighbor Barbara Splawn.

Hines doesn't really want to pull the trigger. She just wants to be prepared.

The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife was in the neighborhood to coach folks on what to do in case they encounter a cougar, and that doesn't involve guns. The best thing to do if you see a cougar is to stay calm, appear large and try to keep your distance.