Dog recovering from surgery after cougar attack in Port Alberni, BC

Conservation officers use their K-9 unit to track a cougar after it attacked a dog Wednesday night at an RV park in Port Alberni, British Columbia, a small town surrounded by forest on the island of Vancouver.

The dog underwent surgery after the attack and is expected to make a full recovery.

Owner Mark Payne sat at a picnic table on a vacant site across from his land, while his nine-year-old Boston terrier-French bulldog mix, named Alaska, ran into a nearby field and relieved himself one last time before settling in for the evening.

Suddenly he heard her growl. He looked over and saw a paw sticking out of the cedar hedge that separates the RV sites. Before he knew what was happening, he said, a cougar jumped up, grabbed his dog and ran away.

“It happened so fast, it was so violent,” Payne said, as she waited for Alaska to come out of her operation.

He said the cougar stopped, pinned the dog and began biting its head, neck and back. Payne said he ran and kicked the cougar several times in the ribs and head, until he freed Alaska and fled.

Alaska suffered several bites, including one pictured here, during the attack. (Submitted by Mark Payne)

The cougar scratched Payne’s leg when he kicked it, but he said he only received minor cuts – and was more worried about his dog.

“You don’t think about it, you just jump to protect.”

Payne said he and a neighbor performed first aid on Alaska, who had puncture wounds and was missing a piece of flesh from her back. They used gauze and tape to stop the bleeding.

It was too late to go to the vet, so Payne and his dog spent an all-nighter on the couch before heading to Nanaimo Thursday morning.

Upon examination, the vet found that the dog had no internal injuries and would make a full recovery after surgery to stitch up her wounds.

Mark Payne lives in Port Alberni with his dog, Alaska. They were out at dusk when Alaska was attacked by a cougar. (Submitted by Mark Payne)

In a statement, a spokesperson for the BC Conservation Officer Service said officers were trying to track the cougar and asking residents to stay off trails in the Timberland Road area.

They also remind residents of Port Alberni to keep their pets on leashes, be aware of their surroundings and follow other safety tips for cougars.

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