Concerned citizens bring petition to Stevens County commissioners to address cougars

Concerned community members from Colville packed the Stevens County Commissioners Office today to demand action about cougars in the area.

Residents say they’ve seen an increase in the number of cougars killing animals and entering their property. They packed the commissioners office, spilling out the doorway and listening in on the meeting.

“The predators are a problem in Stevens County. I’ve only lived here since 2014, but you don’t see many small animals anymore. You see coytoes, wolves, cougars,” said Brian Brooks.

The point of today’s meeting was to present a petition about cougar hunting law. According to state law, dogs cannot be used to hunt cougars, except by agents of county, state or federal agencies in their official capacities for the purpose of protecting livestock or the public safety.

So, Colville resident Dee Dee Isaacs created a petition to get local law enforcement using hounds to hund predatory cougars. Her son’s pet donkey was killed in January by a cougar just 150 feet from the home.

“We’re not advocating hound hunting. That’s not our advocation. We would just like to see the cougars that are doing the depredations on our farms and our home areas… not everyone’s a farmer, but they do have some livestock… they should be actively pursuing these cougars with hounds,” Isaacs said.

She says because of the cougars she doesn’t feel safe letting her son do chores on their property. She also feels like she needs to pack a gun or bear spray to walk around.

“Yes we’re upset that our livestock are being threatened, but we feel that it’s just a matter of time before it’s our children that’s going to be threatened,” said Isaacs.

The department of Fish and Wildlife says it knows the concerns in Colville and is working to find a solution as well.

“We’ve heard and we’re taking it seriously. So, we’re looking right now to look at different ways to handle this. Probably what will happen is we’ll change the number of cougars that can be harvested per person,” said Staci Lehman, communications director for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Issacs said she would like to see her petition implemented by the end of summer, since cougars usually come closer to property as winter approaches.

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