‘Tired of this’: Local rancher loses thousands of dollars from cougar attack

SPOKANE, Wash. — A local rancher lost thousands of dollars after a cougar terrorized his small farm.

“I’m getting tired of this,” said Randy Vigil. He’s owned and managed a small ranch in North Spokane County for almost 30 years.

On Sunday, he found all seven of his lambs enclosed in a safety pen dead from a predator. Vigil knew something was wrong when he went to feed the animals and was met with silence. He’s dealt with attacks for years and is tired of seeing his hard work destroyed.

“They were all covered with straw and dust,” he said.

All of his lambs were dead, buried under piles of dirt. He was sure it was a cougar, and he was right.

“Everybody around here has seen cougars,” Vigil said.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) was able to track and kill the cougar within hours after the incident. It was an older cat which Tony Leonetti says explains the kill.

“As they get older, they’re not as active,” Leonetti said. “Their ability to hunt and provide for themselves as they should tends to go down.”

The enclosed pen of lambs was an easy kill for the cat but a difficult loss for Vigil.

“We had 7 lambs. We’ve got customers that buy the meat and so I’ve had to call them and tell them there’s no product for this year because they’re all dead,” he added.

In total, he says he lost $3,000. WDFW says they kill cougars to prevent other attacks from terrorizing the community. If you see or deal with any kind of livestock loss, you should call 911 so they can investigate.

Vigil is making due with what he has left but isn’t sure what animals he’ll raise on his farm in the future. He hopes another predator doesn’t strike again.

“When they start moving closer to people, that’s where the problem lies.”