Mom Pries Cougar's Jaws Open to Save Her Son, 7, from Being Dragged Away: 'I Just Leaped on It'
A Canadian woman who fought off a cougar that attacked her 7-year-old son in their backyard is now speaking out.
Chelsea Lockhart told CTV, a Canadian TV news outlet, that she was inside her home on Friday while her son Zachery played outside. After hearing the fence rattle, she ran outside to see a juvenile cougar trying to drag her son away.
“I could hear his voice, I could hear struggling, so I ran down the stairs and ran to his voice and turned the corner, and I see this animal on my child,” Lockhart, who lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, told the outlet.
Lockhart said she then attempted to pry the cougar’s jaw open to get the animal to release Zachery.
“He was on the ground and the cougar was over him and it was attached to his arm,” Lockhart said. “I had a mom instinct, right? I just leaped on it and tried to pry its mouth open.”
“I looked at him and I just thought, ‘Oh my god, my kid could die right before my eyes,'” she added. All you think is what can you do? What can you do in your own physical strength?”
“I knew that in my own power and in my own strength I wasn’t going to be able to pry its mouth open, so I started praying in tongues. I’m just crying out to the Lord,” Lockhart said of how she was able to fight off the cougar. “Three sentences into me praying, it released and it ran away.”
The cougar left a four-centimeter gash on Zachery’s head, as well as a few injuries on his neck and arms. He received stitches for the gash, and is expected to make a full recovery.
“Everybody’s recovering today and Zach’s resting at his grandma’s,” Lockhart shared. “We’ve had so much support from the community that every time I go out, everyone’s hugging me and just tearing up, asking how we’re doing, and that helps so much.”
According to ABC News, officials with the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service said they found two cougars — both juvenile males — about 20 yards away from Lockhart’s house. A sergeant with the service said that both cougars were euthanized after the attack, adding that cougar attacks are “a rare occurrence” on Vancouver Island.
The British Columbia Conservation Officer Service did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.