Shawn Hanson said his adrenaline kicked into full gear when he decided to go toe-to-toe with a wild cougar that captured his mini dachshund, Bailey, in order to save the dog's life.
"I see something out of the corner of my eye and a cougar jumped out about 10 to 15 away and just snatched the dog," Hanson of Victoria, British Columbia told ABC News. "It put her paw down and her mouth around her [Bailey's] neck and started dragging her.
"She [Bailey] was making really loud yelping noises like I'd never heard before."
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Hanson, 38, said he was camping at Salmon Beach in Ucluelet, British Columbia with some friends and his dog for Fourth of July weekend, when the group decided to go fishing.
He said it was when he returned to the campsite that a female cougar emerged from the woods and grabbed 1-year-old Bailey — quickly pulling the dog into the bushes.
That's when Hanson said he ran after the cougar in order to save Bailey's life.
"I just kept pushing the bushes so I could see and dropped down into a muddy, dry creek," he said. "I was able to spring out of the mud and was screaming at it the whole time.”
Without another thought, Hanson said he lunged at the animal, grabbing a handful of her skin.
"I was able to cock back and punch the cougar in the face and it kind of went cross-eyed and just dropped the dog," he said. "My initial thought was that it would start swiping at me, but it sat there sort of dazed.
"I was just relieved at that point."
Alone at this point with his injured pup, Hanson said he made his way back to the beach.
Worried that the cougar may return to the campsite, Hanson went to see if she had taken off, with his shotgun in hand for protection.
"It was still in the same location from when I punched it," Hanson said. "It pounced forward to get a better look at me, so I shot a warning shot off to the side. I could’ve backed away, but it was ready to spring and was only 20 feet away."
Feeling that he was in danger, Hanson said he made the decision to put the cougar down.
"I was thinking of the safety of myself, the other people, and the children that were around," he said. "It is an unfortunate turn of events. They're beautiful animals, but it turned out to be a cat that was brazen."
Hanson said he immediately reported the incident to local police and then to the wildlife conservation.
Sgt. Jeff Swann from the Ucelet Royal Canadian Mountain Police who handled the case said the following:
“There are no issues about credibility with the story. It’s overall a scary interaction and we certainly wouldn’t recommend anyone used their hands to fight off an animal. In this case, the gentlemen was lucky.”
While there were no witnesses to the incident, the Canadian Ministry of Environment said it investigated the incident and believes Hanson’s account is ”legitimate.“ The ministry said the investigation is now closed.
"A visitor to Salmon Beach shot and killed a juvenile cougar that had taken his small dog near the house," the ministry said in a statement to ABC News. "The cougar was extremely emaciated. Conservation officers were on scene over the earlier days responding to sightings and behavior. Conversation officers attended with hounds the day prior, but did not have success due to extreme heat and tide conditions."
Conservation officers, Hanson said, informed him that the cougar was a 1-year-old, 50-to-60 pound female.
Hanson said that other than several puncture wounds and damage to a gland in her neck, Bailey is doing well after treatment at Manzini Animal Hospital in Port Alberni.
A rep from the hospital confirmed that Bailey was treated at their facility, but the doctor was unavailable to comment.
Hanson said that although he realized the danger he put himself in, he would've done the same thing, so long as it meant saving someone he loved.
"It started crossing my mind that I was pretty lucky," he said. "It had some pretty big claws and teeth and it could’ve done a lot of damage to me. I don’t have any kids and I think that’s how any parent would think. I did what I did to protect her and get her back.
"She's a member of the family."