Family: Victim of mountain lion attack ‘doing better’

Staff report
The carcass of the mountain lion that was shot after attacking a child in the front yard of his home below Woody Creek on Friday night. Note the sheriff's deputy's boot at the bottom of the picture, which provides an idea of the lion's smaller size.

The 5-year-old boy who was attacked by a mountain lion Friday at his Woody Creek-area home is on the mend, his family said in a statement provided to media outlets Monday.

Issued by the family through Children’s Hospital, where the child is under medical care, the statement said: “Thank you for your concern. Our son is doing better. Thank you for respecting our privacy at this time.”

The hospital said it does not plan to issue further updates about the boy.

He was flown to Children’s Hospital in Denver from Aspen Valley Hospital on Friday night after his mother shook his head free from a mountain lion’s jaw, authorities said.

“She was able to pry the cat’s jaws open,” Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Buglione told The Aspen Times on Saturday. “She’s a hero.”

The boy suffered injuries to his face, head and neck, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The mother told authorities she was inside their Lower River Road residence when she heard her son screaming. He was playing with his older brother when the attack occurred. She was able to wrestle her son away from the mountain lion, believed to be 8 to 9 months old, and brought him to safety. The mother was treated and released from Aspen Valley Hospital with minor injuries.

An officer with the U.S. Forest Service, on the same night as the attack, shot and killed the cougar, which was found under a tree in the yard. At about 2 a.m. Saturday, state and wildlife officials tracked down and killed another lion, roughly the same age, which was in the same vicinity of the attack, authorities said.