MEDFORD, Ore. -- Police have shot and killed a cougar seen roaming around parts of South Medford.
According to the Medford Police Department's Facebook page, officers responded to a report of a cougar sighting late Saturday night near a heavily populated area of East Barnett Road and North Riverside Avenue.
Multiple officers responded to the area and tried to contain the animal while a plan of action was put together.
Police contacted the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon State Police Fish and Game troopers, but they were not able to respond.
Police say based on the heavy pedestrian foot traffic and the proximity to people and patrons of nearby businesses, the decision was made to shoot and kill the animal.
Police contained the cougar to the east side of the Sovana Inn where they dispatched it.
NewsWatch 12 spoke with the District Wildlife Biologist of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Steve Niemela said tranquilizing a cougar and putting it somewhere else isn't really an option. Once that animal is considered a threat to human safety, there isn't a place to put it where humans wouldn't be.
"Wherever you put the animal, there is going to be other people," Niemela added. "You don't want to take a problem from one person and gie that problem to somebody else. The other issue with that is that these animals have huge home ranges. Their ability to return right to the area that they were removed from is pretty incredible."
The cougar weighed between 80 and 100 pounds.
It was taken to Oregon State Police in Central Point where and turned over to ODFW.
Police added the decision to kill the animal was not made lightly, and dispatching an animal is always a last resort.
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