Feisty senior saves pet dog from hungry cougars
Published Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9:37AM EDT
A septugenarian Vancouver Island woman is telling her story after fighting off two cougars intent on making a snack of her beloved pet dog.
Jacqui Simenson, 75, was walking her dogs Bear and Teddy in Sayward, British Columbia on Monday, when the pair of cougars emerged from an abandoned shack.
When one of the wild cats snatched Teddy, Simenson was scared but determined.
"I was just terrified, this poor little dog she was looking at you with her eyes just (pleading),'Help me, help me, help me," she told CTV News, explaining how she leapt into action.
She chased the cat, Teddy locked in its jaws.
"I fought with her there and he wouldn't let go, and pretty soon picked her up and ran with her around the throat," Simenson said, still confused whether the predatory cat was male or female. But as she toured the scene of the scrap with CTV reporter Shannon Paterson, she clearly recalled the horror of seeing her pet in its jaws.
The cougar "wouldn't let go, he picked her up and ran with her around her throat," she said.
But Simenson wouldn't give up either, kicking the cougar until it dropped the 8-year-old Shih Tzu Terrier and fled.
"She's lucky the dog survived and she wasn't injured. The cougar could have turned on her could have attacked her," B.C. conservation officer Peter Pauwels told CTV News.
But he stopped short of chastising the protective pet owner.
"There's lots of examples where people have done exactly the same thing: fought off cougars to protect their dogs. I guess whether that's the right thing would depend on how much you care for your dog."
Teddy has a broken jaw that requires surgery, but Simenson appeared more concerned about the fate of the hungry cougars.
RCMP said, in light of the attack and the amount of people who frequent the area where it happened, the animals posed a threat. Both were shot and killed.
"I don’t want to see a hurt animal," Simenson said, explaining that she's sorry she had to resort to violence to save Teddy.
"That was hard, hard to hurt it, to hurt an animal, but I had to."
Pauwels has some advice for others who chance upon cougars when out walking their dogs:
"Try and stay together with your dog. Face the cougar at all times. Slowly back away to a position of safety. Never let the cougar get behind you," he said.
"If it's approaching you, try to look as large and intimidating as possible."
Simenson, a small, but inarguably feisty resident of the community north of Campbell River, was unharmed in her encounter with the cougars.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson