Warning: This story contains a graphic photo of a dead cougar.

VICTORIA -- Conservation officers have shot and killed a cougar in Sooke after residents say the cat had been stalking pets in the area for the past week.

The cougar was treed and shot Tuesday after multiple residents reported encounters with the animal.

One area resident tells CTV News the cougar had been going after cats and small dogs in the neighbourhood and had growled at people when they went outside.

Neighbours say they are saddened the animal was destroyed as they were hopeful it would leave the area on its own.

Conservation officers are expected to release more information on their decision to destroy the animal later Tuesday.

Cougar Sooke