Man describes cougar sighting: 'I thought it was a squirrel. It wasn't.'
PORTLAND, Ore.- Mike Carnivali didn't know what his dogs were barking at, but told KATU, "I thought it was probably a squirrel."
It wasn't. A cougar was staring down back at him when he looked up. He was just about to start up the grill for his Fourth of July BBQ when he spotted the wild animal in the backyard tree. He called 911, one of many calls that day from people who spotted the cougar across Northeast Portland.
"He was up just above the branches so you could see his tail and his arm hanging down. And his head too," Carnivali told KATU.
He shared video he recorded from the safety of his bedroom as he watched Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife tranquilize the cougar with assistance from police. ODFW took the cougar away before later euthanizing the animal.
Oregon State Wildlife Veterinarian Colin Gillin told KATU, "It's going to have to eat - they're carnivores so if they're in an urban environment, any cat or dog in a yard is fair game."
Gillin went on to say, "We take the decision very seriously." He explained the cougar, a adolescent male, ran across the Portland metro area by chance. After several days in the area he grew comfortable in the urban environment and reintroducing him into the wild would've been cruel, equating it to "dropping them into a bad neighborhood and hope he does well adult cougars kill other cougars all the time," Gillin told KATU.
To watch some of the home video and hear more of the 911 calls, click play on the video above.