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Animal Attack Files Special ReportSpecial Report forwarded by AAF Correspondent: Jeff DykesAnimal Attack Files Special Report
from The Arizona Republic 


Animal Attack

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Girl in good condition after lion attack 

Aggressive father saves child by driving off doomed animal 
The Arizona Game and Fish Department offers these tips for dealing with mountain lions: 
  • Don't hike, jog or ride a mountain bike alone in mountain-lion country. 
  • Supervise children closely. Because of their size, they are more likely to be attacked. 
  • Never approach a mountain lion. Most will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them an avenue of escape. 
  • Stand and face the animal, making eye contact. Pick up your child, but do not crouch or bend over to do so. To a lion, a person crouched or bent over looks like a prey animal. 
  • Never run. That is exactly what a prey animal would do. 
  • Do all that you can to make yourself appear larger. Raise your arms, open your shirt or jacket. Wave your arms slowly and yell. 
  • Do not scream. A high-pitched scream can sound like the noise made by injured prey. 
  • If attacked, fight back. Use rocks, sticks, a camera or even bare hands. 


    By Beth DeFalco
    The Arizona Republic 
    May 1, 2000

    A father's protective instinct saved his 4-year-old daughter's life when a mountain lion attacked her during a weekend outing at Bartlett Lake, authorities said Sunday. 

    "He did everything right. He never gave up and never stopped fighting," said Kevin Bergersen, a field supervisor for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. "He went after it like a parent." 

    The rare attack occurred when Victoria Martinez was chasing bugs outside her family's tent Saturday night. The mountain lion clawed her, bit her on the back of the neck and dragged her 15 yards through the brush, Maricopa County Sheriff's Sgt. Don Rosenberger said. 

    Victoria's parents and 7-year-old brother were inside their tent when they heard her scream. Her father, Richard, sprinted from the tent and started yelling and throwing stones at the 160-pound lion until it dropped his daughter and ran away, Bergersen said. 

    The girl was airlifted to Phoenix Children's Hospital, where she was listed in good condition Sunday after undergoing surgery. Hospital officials expected Victoria to make a full recovery. Her family would not comment. 

    Only two other non-fatal mountain lion attacks have been reported in the state in the past 20 years, according the Arizona Game and Fish Department. 

    After scaring off the lion, the girl's parents flagged another camper and drove Victoria to a sheriff's office station at the lake, which is about 18 miles east of Cave Creek. 

    Martinez, the girl's father, lead deputies to the campsite. Less than an hour after the attack, authorities spotted the lion sitting at the spot where it dropped Victoria. 

    "As I looked into the spotlight, I saw two orange eyes looking back at me," Bergersen said. 

    Wildlife officers then shot and killed the animal. It tested negative for rabies. 

    "Apparently, it is not uncommon for a mountain lion to return, knowing that it had injured its prey," Rosenberger said. "Given the fact that this happened, this mountain lion would most likely continue to attack the public and anything else that got in its way." 

    "The Martinezes did everything right and had a profound perspective on the attack," Bergersen said. "When his son asked why this happened, Mr. Martinez told him, 'We're in his house.' " 

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