Ashland police shoot at cougar on SOU campus

After responding Sunday night to reports that two cougars were spotted on the Southern Oregon University campus, Ashland police fired a shot at one of the animals, but missed and the cougar escaped, apparently unharmed.

According to a report from Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara, police officers and SOU campus security responded at about 10 p.m. to reports of the cougars on the campus. The officers attempted to chase the cougars away by making noise, according to the release, but were unsuccessful in scaring away the larger of the two cats.

The release said O’Meara then “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.”

One shot was fired at the cougar, but missed, and the cougar then left the area.

According to the release, the officers involved first ensured that there was a proper back stop immediately behind the target that could safely absorb the bullet.

The release concluded, “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.”

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