WARRENTON — A cougar has been spotted in Warrenton by residents near the 300th block of First Street. Now Warrenton Police and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are on the lookout, warning neighbors to be cautious and to steer clear.

“The Warrenton Police Department has received various reports of cougar sightings,” said Police Chief Mathew Workman. “The Warrenton Police and some citizens have already contacted the ODFW about the recent sightings. Citizens should be cautious and vigilant, but not to the point that you are overly concerned or feel that an attack is imminent.”

The sightings in town, though normally rare, should be reported to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Workman said.

Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin says he has not heard any recent reports of a cougar in Warrenton. But he reminded the community that with Fort Stevens in such close proximity, it is likely a cougar, coyote or other wild animal can find its way to town every now and then.

“We’ve got to remember we’re still pretty rural,” he said.

OSP Senior Trooper Jim Pierce said he had not heard anything either, but doesn’t doubt that the possibility exists.

“It’s possible,” Pierce said. “Every year we have sightings in Warrenton around this time.”

The ODFW puts out a brochure called “Oregon is Cougar Country,” Workman said. It offers these tips:

• Cougars often will retreat if given the opportunity. Leave the animal a way to escape.

• Stay calm and stand your ground.

• Maintain direct eye contact.

• Pick up children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar.

• Back away slowly.

• Do not run. Running triggers a chase response in cougars, which could lead to an attack.

• Raise your voice and speak firmly.

• If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands.

• If, in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, tools or any items available.

• Try to stay on your feet and fight back aggressively.

Workman says he has ordered copies of the brochure and will make it available at the Warrenton Police Department.

To print a copy of this brochure and for much more information, log on to www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/cougars.asp

To report cougar sightings or to report problems with nomadic animals like skunks, raccoons or opossums call ODFW through the local OSP Office in Astoria at (503)?325-5515 or the Tillamook ODFW office at (503)?842-2741.

You can also call the Warrenton Police. Some helpful tips to reduce nomadic animals around your property include securing all possible food sources, maing sure garbage is in a sealed container and not leaving pet food out.

These animals are also somewhat protected by ODFW statutes, Workman reminds the community. According to the ODFW you can't even trap these animals without a permit from their office. Also remember it is illegal to discharge a firearm within the city limits, Workman said.

“Of course, if the animal is attacking you or your pets, you are allowed to responsibly protect yourself.

“The Warrenton Police Department will provide any assistance possible if the animals are attacking or other emergency situations,” he said.

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