PROSSER -- A large dog, not a cougar, likely attacked and killed pigs near Prosser, said Sgt. Mike Jewell of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife on Wednesday.
A cougar was suspected after the kills were reported to county law enforcement. Pigs were reported attacked or killed at Mid Valley Milling on Hinzerling Road on Oct. 17, Oct. 27 and Sunday.
A trail camera mounted at the pig pen took a photo Sunday, catching just the ear of an animal. It showed feathery-looking fur not consistent with a cougar, Jewell said.
A worker on the property told Fish and Wildlife that he shot and killed a large dog that appeared to be a shepherd mix as it was trying to enter the pig pen Monday or Tuesday, Jewell said. Tracks found around the pen also were clearly canine tracks, he said.
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The teeth of the dog were compared to the bite marks on the surviving pigs. The bite marks appeared to Jewell to be canine, he said.
In addition, a wild cougar typically only kills what it can eat and would have been likely to carry a small pig away, rather than killing and leaving the animals, he said. The pigs were small enough that a cougar could have carried one away.
Another dog may have been involved, but Jewell suspects that the main dog that had been killing pigs was shot.