Cougar sighting reported east of Bend

Deputies don't find it but offer safety reminders

BEND, Ore. - A cougar sighting east of Bend Thursday evening brought Deschutes County sheriff's deputies to a location along Arnold Market Road. They said they found no sign of the animal, but offered safety tips to avoid close encounters.

Deputies were dispatched shortly after 5 p.m. to the 60300 block of Arnold Market Road on the reported sighting, said Sgt. Ty Rupert. No cougar was located, however, he said.

Sheriff's deputies reminded the community that you should not disturb animal carcasses, especially if you believe the animal may have been killed by a cougar.

If there are confirmed cougar sightings in your area, don't walk your dogs at night, Rupert said. It's also recommended that residents keep outside lighting on in areas where livestock are present, to help deter cougar attacks, and to supervise children and pets that are outside.

Rupert noted the county has many residential areas near rural settings where wildlife is prevalent.

If you do come in contact with wildlife such as a cougar, don't run but move slowly, keeping the animal in view as you move away from the area.

If there is a perceived danger to the community, you are asked to contact law enforcement as soon as possible.

Cougars have attacked humans on about 145 occasions in the U.S. and Canada since 1890, according to an article on cougars in the latest issue of National Geographic.

Just over 20 of those assaults – an average of one every six years – proved fatal, the magazine reported, noting that at least a third of the verified attacks have taken place over the past 20 years, with more cougars and people in rural aras raising the potential for conflict.

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