Pair of cougar sightings recently in Spallumcheen area

Big cat spooks dogs, owner

It seems the big cats are everywhere right now.

There have been a few cougar sightings in the Valley recently with two in Armstrong within the last week.

Alina Jennifer McDougall spotted a cougar near the Tolko mill in Spallumcheen.

“I live across from Tolko so was on my way to Vernon at midnight to pick my boyfriend up from work and there was an enormous cougar standing in the ditch just staring at my car waiting to cross the road, this was exactly halfway between the turn off to Westridge Rock Quarry and the wood Spallumcheen sign,” said McDougall. “He headed east up the mountain after crossing the road behind my car.”

The encounter got the North Okanagan woman wondering about an incident a week earlier.

“I was out walking my dogs near that hill a week prior when my youngest dog, Karma, just started booking it down the hill with her tail between her legs, so I didn't know why but I definitely was gonna book it down the hill too,” she said. “And of course, Sprocket ran too.”

McDougall wonders if it was the cougar that spooked her dogs.

“I was walking my dogs on the hills behind Hutley Road, where I always go,” she said.

Another Armstrong resident posted on social media she had a very close encounter with a big cat.

The woman was on Schubert Road north of Dodds Road when her 80-pound dog started barking.

She shone her flashlight in the bushes and saw a cougar staring back at her.

The big cat did not seem intimidated by her yelling and the dog barking.

Last Wednesday, a cougar was spotted in the Rose Valley Regional Park area.

But this does not mean there is an influx of the big cats in the area, as there is a healthy cougar population in the Valley.

If someone does spot a cougar near a residential area, they should call the RAPP line immediately at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).

Conservation officer Micah Kneller urges people to call right away as that will give officials a better idea of where the cats are, but does not mean they will destroy the animal.

Often cougars are spotted simply walking through an area, but if they are acting aggressively, action will be taken.

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