PORTLAND, Ore -- Residents in a Northeast Portland neighborhood say they were shocked to find out the state chose to euthanize a cougar after it was safely tranquilized outside a home.
Many of the people who watched as wildlife experts captured the cougar figured he would be relocated.
But instead, officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife chose to euthanize him, saying he had lost his fear of people.
Wildlife officials say there's never been a reported human attack by a mountain lion in Oregon History.
That's what makes to decision to put the wild cat to sleep so hard for many Oregonians to swallow.
You would have thought they could have organized a better situation than euthanizing him, said neighbor Lewis Waldenberg.
State Veterinarian doctor Colin Gillin says the relocated cougars often migrate right back to populated areas --- where they typically feed on domestic animals.
By relocating it in another area you put it in areas already saturated with other animals.
Dr. Gillan also says the state does sometimes relocate young cougars. But he believes this animal was already too old and set in his patterns.
The animal was spotted around 2:45 Friday afternoon by Monica Padillas, who said she screamed and ran inside to call police.
We looked up and [gasp] there was this huge tail and a paw and a monstrous cat, she said.
Roads were blocked near the cougar's location, in the 2900 block of Northeast 121st Avenue, for nearly four hours. Police officers also went house-to-house and advised everyone to stay inside with their doors and windows closed.
Wildlife officials found the big cat and shot it with a tranquilizing dart around 5:45 p.m. By 6 p.m., the sedated cougar was safely out of the tree and in a cage, then euthanized a short time later.
WILD ANIMAL SIGHTINGS UP IN URBAN AREAS
Several people had reported seeing a cougar in Hillsboro, East Portland and Gresham over the last week, but this was the first time wildlife officials were able to capture it.
A woman who lives near Southeast 167th Avenue believes her pet house cat was killed by a cougar last week. She said the 18-pound cat's remains were found and it was clear that a cougar had killed her.
Wildlife officials said it's not uncommon for wild animals to roam out of their normal territories this time of year, searching for food.
It's estimated there are now over 5,000 cougars living in Oregon and most of them are close by, in the Cascade Range.
There were also two recent bear sightings in Portland. One of the bears was tranquilized and relocated. In the other case, neighbors were told to lock up their trash cans. Wildlife officials said the bear will likely leave the area when food is no longer so easy to get.