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11/28/2012 12:01 pm ET

Cougar Gets Into Oregon House Through Dog Door, Scary Incident Shows State's Problem Worsening (VIDEO)

A brazen cougar entered a Lane County home through a dog door late last month, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

While the Dexter, Ore., homeowner said he wasn't too worried about the incident, department spokesperson Brian Wolfer said it was "kind of concerning" that a cougar would get into a house that way, according to KATU.

"He chased a dog through the dog door and into the house," neighbor Paula Chebalier told CBS affiliate KVAL. "The folks were asleep upstairs, the dog went up. They went out on the balcony and hollered for help -- and someone finally did come and the cougar found out how to get back out the door."

Dexter resident told KVAL that there has been an increase in cougar sightings in the region. The cats have been blamed for several recently killed livestock. Parents have also seen cougars at school bus stops in the mornings, which raises fears for the safety of the community's children, according to the news site.

Ed Thompson, a rancher who lives nearby, was able to capture several pictures of cougars on a special game camera, KATU reports.

"I'm afraid that many people don't understand the breadth of the cougar problem right in Lane County's backyards," Thompson said. "In the Dexter/Pleasant Hill area alone there have been well more than a dozen livestock killings including sheep (two of which were ours), goats and an alpaca just this year."

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website, "cougars are an Oregon success story. After being nearly eliminated by the mid-1960s, today they have a healthy population. The current cougar population in Oregon is estimated to be more than 5,700."

The cat's population surge, as well as sightings like the one in Dexter, led to House Bill 4119, which would have helped implement a pilot program that allows persons to use dogs to hunt or pursue cougars. (In 1994, the state passed Measure 18, which outlawed the use of dogs in hunting cougars.)

Cougars, also known as mountain lions or pumas, are powerful predators that use a combination of stealth and power while hunting. They stalk their prey until they fatally bite the back of the animal's neck, according to National Geographic.

Solitary, shy and requiring a lot of room to roam, the big cats only occasionally attack humans, National Geographic reports.

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