Canadian man punches cougar attacking his dog near fast food store

CALGARY, ALBERTA (REUTERS)- A Canadian man punched a cougar in the face to stop it from attacking his dog in a wooded area near a fast food store in Whitecourt, central Alberta, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Wednesday (Dec 28).

Mr William Gibb, 31, from Red Deer, Alberta, had stopped at a Tim Hortons outlet, a popular Canadian restaurant chain, while driving 600km to Grand Prairie on Monday evening and let his dog out for a walk, Whitecourt RCMP Sergeant Tom Kalis said.

Shortly after, Mr Gibb heard Sasha, his 36kg female husky, whimpering in pain and found a cougar pinning it to the ground.

"I could see something wrapped around her and wasn't sure what it was. I ran over and punched it in what I thought was the head, and it backed off and I realised it was a cougar," Mr Gibb, an electrician, said.

"I stepped over Sasha and charged at it swinging and screaming and calling for my brother and buddy to give a hand," he added.

Mr Gibb kept the cougar at bay, despite it swiping at him a few times, as he tended to his injured dog and called the police, before getting Sasha into his truck and driving the dog away for medical attention.

He said the police arrived five or 10 minutes later and, after consulting with fish-and-wildlife officers, killed the cougar because of the risk that it could attack another dog or even humans.

Mr Gibb was not seriously injured, although Sasha bit him on the hand during the rescue.

Sgt Kalis said cougar sightings were not uncommon around Whitecourt because the town is surrounded by forests, but it is unusual for them to attack dogs.