October 10, 2007
When Would It Be Right to Shoot a Cougar?
A man in Boulder County shoots a mountain lion that has attacked his dog. Unfortunately for his legal position, dogs are not described by law as "livestock" (although I often refer to ours that way).
The Sinapu crowd predictably wants him hanged.
The dog-owner, Jeremy Kocar, told the Daily Camera newspaper, "I'm from Wisconsin — and we take care of things there," a remark that produced a certain amount of chest-puffing among Coloradans.
Read the comments if you have time and mental equanimity. Sample from "Teledude": "When you move to the mountains, you take the risk that you or your pets are food for something else." (Login required: Bug Me Not is your friend.)
David Baron detailed the change in attitude in his excellent 2003 book The Beast in the Garden. People in that area had become more accepting of the cougar population around them, despite the occasional deaths of pets and at least one human, a high-school cross-country runner.
But where are the limits? If I caught a mountain lion attacking Jack or Shelby -- and they do come around the house -- I too would shoot. To avoid that possibility, we have a rule -- enforced for cabin guests too -- that dogs do not go out after dark without a human, even big dogs.
I wonder if some of the "never never never" people could stand by idly either.