Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Sergeant Carlo Pace said the department is dealing with cougar issues in different parts of Kittitas County.

Property owners on No. 81 Road and Brick Mill Road recently had goats killed and taken from their property by cougar(s) in the area.

“There’s likely more than one based on the amount of meat consumed,” Pace said. “I did go out and found a small goat that was missing, it was in the brush nearby Brick Mill Road. I went across the street and found some cougar hair.”

Traps were set, but they were unsuccessful. Cougars were also sighted in the Manastash area.

“We were not successful in tracking down any cats in that area,” Pace said. “For now we’re just monitoring, we need to remove those animals after what happened (if they return).”

Per Washington law, cougars cannot be relocated if they are trapped and must be euthanized.

“Relocating is very difficult,” Pace said. “We try our best to educate the public about that. These animals are going after goats because they are readily easy prey. Since we spoke with the owners they started putting their goats away at night and we have not had any issues.”

Coyotes also are a popular threat to other animals and owners shouldn’t be surprised by coyote attacks, especially if animals are not put away. He said people with animals shouldn’t be surprised by animal attacks in a rural county if they are not taken care of properly and that it is part of living in a rural area.

Pace said cougars tend to follow their prey, unlike bears, who hibernate and have more distinct seasons.

“For cougars its unpredictable,” Pace said. Although many incidents happened during the spring, he said the sightings were not unusual.

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