SEASIDE - Drew Weil, the 9-year-old boy who encountered a cougar last Thursday, said he saw a cat again briefly at about 8 p.m. Tuesday. Oregon State Police Sgt. Jeff Scroup said officials have not been able to confirm or deny the sighting.
Lena Weil, Drew's mother, said he reported the cougar came out of the bushes on a small trail in the Weils' backyard, then turned around and left. The Weils live at 1485 N. Wahanna Road, a rural area in Seaside.
Scroup said police officers have found no trace of the cougar, and he is not ruling out the possibility that Drew is mistaken.
"That's my job; I have to be suspicious," he said. "I would love to be able to substantiate this, one way or the other."
Scroup said he expects the incident to be used by groups pressuring the state Legislature to allow the hunting of cougars with hounds by private citizens.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife employee Dave Nuzum is dubious. "He probably saw something, but there are just a lot of pieces that don't add up," he said. He questioned the report that the cougar slobbered on Drew's shorts. "Cougars don't really slobber," he said.
Scroup said "a fairly seemingly harmless old tom" has been sighted several times in Warrenton over the past few years.
One or two young ones were seen around Emerald Heights, east of Astoria, four or five years ago, he said.
One cougar was reported, but never verified two or three years ago behind the Dairy Queen in Gearhart, and a horse may have been attacked by a cougar last summer on Wahanna Road. That was never verified either, he said.
"Each and every sighting we are interested in," he said.