WARNING: The contents of this story are graphic in nature and may not be suitable for all readers.
Stuart McQueen was on his way home from work when he witnessed a tragic act of heroism — a man fighting off a cougar to protect his dog.
He was working a wildfire in the area, contracted to the BC Wildfire Service to provide water to firefighters battling a small blaze near Hidden Creek.
Headed down Bear Lake Main Road, about 15 kilometres out of West Kelowna on the Westside, Mcqueen spotted a cougar on the side of the road. He slowed his truck to a walking pace and pulled his phone out to capture the moment on camera.
“I was coming down the road watching the cat and stuff, and all I could think about was ‘This would be cool to show my wife,’” he said.
But what was intended as a fun wildlife video quickly turned dark. As McQueen followed the cougar, he spotted a truck pulling a camper parked down the road, along with two dogs and their owner.
“I started yelling at the guy, basically saying, ‘Call your dogs; there’s a cat on the road, call your dogs,’” he said.
McQueen said the man didn’t hear him at first, but by the time he did comprehend what McQueen was yelling and had called out for his dogs, it was too late — they’d seen the cougar.
“They were just not listening to him calling them to come. And, at that point is when the cat turned and looked at one of the dogs and noticed it and was like, ‘Alright, I can get a meal,’” he said.
“I think the cat was kind of in a state where it was like either he had to eat, or he was gonna die.”
At that point, McQueen again lifted his phone and began filming. He posted the video to YouTube, which Black Press Media has chosen to show only part of due to its graphic nature.
McQueen’s footage shows the cougar running up the road when it spots one of the dogs and pounces. The man grabs a machete from his camper then runs toward the entangled animals, hacking several times at the cougar’s neck until it eventually dies.
After the conclusion of the 1:15 clip, which has more than 130,000 views since it was posted on Sept. 27, McQueen said he ran up to the man to ask if he and the dog were alright.
“I checked out the dog, and the dog had some pretty severe cuts and slashes on him. Whether those are from the cougar the machete, I’m not sure,” he said.
The dog’s condition remains unknown at this time.
Black Press Media has reached out to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service for comment.