Florida teen bit by cougar talks about the attack

Posted: 11:21 AM Nov 24, 2008
Last Updated: 11:21 AM Nov 24, 2008
Reporter: Kerry Sanders-NBC
Email Address: news@wjhg.com
 
A Florida teenage girl is lucky to be alive after being attacked by a cougar.
 
It was supposed to be a fun and simple trip to see the animal, but it ended with serious injuries for the girl and another person in custody.
 
It’s hard to believe Amanda Gomez was mauled by a 150 pound cougar a little more than a week ago.
 
But hidden beneath her long brown hair — the tracks of wild life adventure she will never forget.
 
Twenty surgical staples that closed a 7 inch gash to her scalp.
 
“I put my hand on the back of my head and it was just like full of blood, ” said Gomez.
 
The privately owned cougar, named Chaos, is de-clawed, but his teeth still very sharp.
 
“These are puncture wounds where his teeth went in,” said Gomez. “This is where it first bit me, there’s three bites right here. I have two more puncture wounds from the leg, it went up to my shoulder”
 
Richard Morales, saved Amanda from the cougar, he said, “The cat pounced outside his cage, after Amanda and her mother were invited to come close with her hands in its jaws, mom tried to pry Amanda’s head loose.”
 
“I prayed to the lord and I said we need your help and he answered and the prayer and the neighbor came running in,” said Amanda’s mom.
 
“I started beating on the cat to get the girl,” said Morales. “I was able to get the girl away from the cat.”
 
The 21-year-old man who had brought them to see the cat allegedly claimed he was a trained handler.
 
Turns out, he had worked for Chaos’s owner cleaning cages. He now faces several charges, including
 
Just two days before the attack, state wildlife officers had visited the cougar enclosure and said everything was up to safety standards, the mistake, in this case they say, taking the big cat out of its cage.
 
“Amanda is very very lucky,” said Jorge Pino, Florida Wildlife Commission.
 
Amanda’s fear now: she’ll never trust an animal, other than her pet cat.
 
http://www.wjhg.com/state/headlines/34991979.html
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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at https://bigcatrescue.org
 
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