Cougar killed on 50th Ave.

Sean C. Morgan

Linn County trapper Jim Schacht treed and killed a cougar that had killed at least four pet sheep at a 50th Avenue home last week.

The cougar killed at least four American black-bellied Barbados sheep, carrying one year-old sheep over the fence into the trees across 50th Avenue the night of Aug. 15 or morning of Aug. 16. Two other sheep remain missing, including a 2-week-old lamb, from the flock of 10.

“I went to bed at 11 o’clock Monday night and everything was fine,” said owner Shelley Garrett. Her boys had been playing in the sheep field earlier in the day.

“I remember specially thinking it’s so nice that we have a fenced area where they can play and be safe,” Garrett said.

At about 10 a.m. on Aug. 16, she noticed three dead rams in the field, near the road. The biggest among them had a tear in its cheek and its belly was opened. The other two had wet fur on their necks, and one had a hole in his belly.

Schacht responded on Aug. 16 and examined the carcasses, Garrett said. “He confirmed it was definitely a cougar.”

Schacht moved two of the rams to the middle of the field, she said. He wanted the cougar to come back and feed on the remaining ram. He located the fourth ram across the road, partially covered.

“It’s scary to know there was a cougar right there,” Garrett said, gesturing across the street.

He returned with hound dogs at about 6 a.m. on Wednesday. All that was left of the fourth ram was the cape and horns.

Within minutes, the hounds had located the cougar, treeing it on a nearby hilltop. Schacht shot and killed the cougar.

Garrett said there have been a couple of sightings in the area recently. In the fall, a cougar and two cubs were spotted across 50th from her home. During the spring, a neighbor reported a cougar scaring the sheep, and another was sighted nearby recently.

The sightings are apparently a new development in the area.

“I have a four-wheeler,” said neighbor Scotty Hudgins. “I walk these woods. Bear tracks – no cougar.”

Shelley Garrett and her husband, Will Garrett, moved to Sweet Home in 2003. She came from Sunnyvale, Calif., in the Bay Area.

“I’m kind of a city girl, but I’ve adapted,” she said. Will previously lived in the Klamath Falls and Medford areas. He owns and operates Radiator Supply House in Sweet Home.

The family has had the sheep for four years, Garrett said. “We just got them to help mow down the grass so we don’t have to mow the pasture.”

They were scared at first, but they warmed to the Garrett family and they’ve become pets.

“I know that cougars have a purpose in the cycle of life,” Garrett said, suggesting the rules on hunting cougars should be relaxed. “I think there’s way too many of them. I guess we just have to be watchful and hope things change. I’m glad we got this one, but I’m still pretty leery.”