ASHLAND, Ore. —
UPDATE: Just days after an Ashland Police (APD) officer shot at a cougar on the Southern Oregon University campus, the department has indicated that the cougars seem to be laying low for the time being.
"There have been cat sightings in the last few days, but none that rise to the level of action being dictated. Please keep in mind that some level of cougar presence is to be expected," APD said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
According to the department, what makes a cougar sighting concerning is how deep the incursion is into the city (such as previous sightings at Safeway), seeing the cats during daylight hours, or finding them in close proximity to people.
APD said that they are currently working on a "mapping system," so that residents can see the areas where all previous sightings have been.
"In the meantime please be aware and let us know when you see one. 541-770-4784," APD signed off.
(Updated 11/1/18 at 5:45 p.m.)
INITIAL REPORT: A police officer fired his gun at a cougar on the campus of Southern Oregon University (SOU) on Sunday after two of the animals were spotted roaming around, according to the Ashland Police Department (APD).
Officers from APD and SOU Campus Public Safety officers responded to Hannon Library around 10 p.m. that night after receiving reports of two cougars in the area.
Encountering both cougars, APD said that the officers were able to "compel one of the cougars away" by making noise. However, the other cougar — the larger of the two, APD said — would not leave.
"The police chief made the decision that the cat had to be put down as it presented an ongoing danger to the community, especially in such close proximity to the Hannon Library, which was open at the time," APD said in a statement.
An officer opened fire, but the shot missed the cougar. Nevertheless, the cat left the area.
APD said that the officers made sure there was a proper back stop beyond the trajectory of the bullet to absorb the shot if it missed, and "at no time was there a danger to anyone from the discharge of the weapon."
"It is the Ashland Police Department's responsibility to ensure the safety of all members of the community. The decision to put down a cougar is not made lightly. Each encounter with a cougar has to be analyzed on its own and appropriate decisions made," APD said.