Fellow Cyclists Rush To Save Woman From Cougar Attack

When a group of five cyclists, all over the age of 50, set off for a ride near Fall City, Washington, last month, they never anticipated the ordeal they would soon be encountering.

According to reports, one of the women, 60-year-old Keri Bergere, was viciously attacked by a cougar as the other four looked on in horror. As the cat sunk its teeth into Bergere’s face, her friends quickly came to her rescue, using sticks, rocks and their bare hands in an attempt to break the wild animal’s grip.

After already cycling for about 19 miles on their Feb. 17 journey, the four women engaged in a nearly hour-long battle that ultimately resulted in removing Bergere from danger — albeit with a host of painful injuries.

“I thought my teeth were coming loose and I was going to swallow my teeth,” she recalled in a subsequent interview. “I could feel the bones crushing and I could feel it tearing back.”

Meanwhile, her friends spent roughly 45 minutes battling the 75-pound cougar however they could. One woman had a small knife she used to stab the animal while another attempted to choke it to no avail.

“That was like choking a rock,” explained 64-year-old Annie Bilotta. “It did absolutely nothing.”

She then attempted to use her hand to pry the cat’s teeth out of her friend’s face.
“I felt it shifting its teeth like it wanted to try to bite me, too,” she explained. “I said, ‘No, you’re not going to get both of us.’”

Auna Tietz, a 59-year-old cyclist in the group, picked up a heavy rock and dropped it on the mountain lion, careful to avoid further injuring Bergere in the process.

Tisch Williams, also 59, used the expensive bike of another cyclist in the group to
Bergere’s face was pressed into the ground, she recalled, and she “felt like it was suffocating me.”

Nevertheless, she was able to use her fingers to poke the attacking animal in its eyes and nostrils.

After a grueling fight, authorities arrived on the scene and took down the cougar. Bergere was transported to a hospital where she was listed in stable condition, and she credits her positive prognosis to the bravery and “superhuman strength” of her friends.

“They’re teeny ladies,” she said. “And I know that the Fish and Wildlife shot the final shot to kill it, but these ladies killed that cougar with their bare hands and no weapons. I’m eternally grateful to each one of them.”

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