A Bandon woman, Alysha Sifford was in for a huge surprise when she came eye-to-eye with a cougar sitting atop the garage of her neighbour's roof on Monday morning when she went out for a smoke break. She said she was out to light her cigarette and suddenly she glanced past her neighbour's roof, only to see a cougar sitting there peacefully and watching her smoke the cigarette. She said the creature looked mad, stayed on the roof and watched her for over a minute. She said she wasn't afraid but was just alarmed. The neighbour, John Forrest who lives in Aumsville 10 miles east of Salem tells a news agency that it's his lioness and all the pictures put online are from his property. He said that it's his resin lion they have put atop the roof of his garage and thought it looked cool. He put it up along with his companion Dean Panther as a marketing trick for his antique business, Treasures Trondhjem, which he runs out of his garage.
Forrest who resides in the 500 blocks of North 11th Street in Aumsville said his business hub gained a remarkable reputation after he put it up about two months ago. Someone took the picture of a cougar on social media a couple of days ago which went viral. He said thousands of people are reacting and sharing the pictures of the cougar. Some of the people have also called him a liar and said the picture is edited and photoshopped. He said people usually drive by and slow down, and he waves back at them. He also said in one such incident, a lady screamed to warn him about the cougar and asked him not to come out of his garage. She ended up calling 9-1-1, said Forrest. Forrest lives in a rural area where cougars are very common and it is obvious to react that way. He said its a lion and not a cougar. The main road is just 130 feet away and people drive by at 30 miles per hour and turn around.
Forrest uses the picture for his Facebook page so that the locals can identify him. He said he has been enjoying reading about it.
Bob Webb, Bandon Police Chief told keeping fake cougars is not a crime. He said he is not aware of any law that bars people from keeping fake wild animals like a cougar or a snake on its roof. People even put carved bears in front of their yards but there's a crime in it. The state of Oregon is famous for wild cougars and last year it faced a fatal attack by a cougar in the Mount Hood National Forest. Department of Wildlife, Oregon estimates that there are around 6000 cougars in the state.