CHELAN FALLS — Cori Yarbrough said she loves wildlife and knows their home in McNeil Canyon is in cougar territory.
But after hearing her son screaming through his cell phone, she couldn’t imagine not killing the young cat that chased her two sons through their property on Saturday and fought her dogs when they tried to intervene.
Her husband, Cameron, rushed home and shot and killed the 50-pound cat. The children were not injured, and the dog was badly scratched on its nose, but the injuries were not life-threatening.
“It was the worst thing I’ve ever gone through,” Yarbrough said in a telephone interview on Monday. “This was a nightmare for me.”
Yarbrough said her 10- and 15-year-old sons were outside playing on their 50 acres when they came across a fresh deer carcass. She said they heard a noise and turned to see a young cougar running toward them, so they ran. She said their dogs then went after the cougar, and when they caught up with it, the cougar attacked one of the dogs.
That’s when her son used his cell phone to call her.
“I’m at home, and I hear my son screaming, ‘Get the gun,’ ” Yarbrough said. She said both of her sons were yelling, and she could hear the terror in their voices as they watched their dog, Nakoda, being attacked. “My son was hitting the cougar with a blow gun to get it off my dog. That’s how close they were,” she said.
Yarbrough said she called her husband home and went to retrieve their guns from the safe and tried to meet him at the site. She estimated it took 30 minutes for them to reach her kids.
She said she couldn’t find the words to describe exactly where they were. “I was so hysterical, my husband was on the verge of smacking me,” she said.
She said her husband shot the cougar when they reached the scene. “It may have been a kitten, but it was huge,” she said.
Rich Beausoleil, bear and cougar specialist for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the young cat was likely too small to take down a deer, so he assumes its mother killed the deer, and they may have been feeding on it when they were interrupted. He estimated the cat to be about seven months old.
He said no tickets were issued, as the father was concerned for the safety of his children.
He said Wildlife officers are monitoring the area to make sure the cougar mother doesn’t cause any problems.
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512