British Columbia

Axe-wielding grandma shoos cougar out of living room in Slocan, B.C.

Shayla Aumack, 20, came home to find a cougar in her woodshed — which is attached to her house — around 10 p.m. earlier this month. She tried to ask a friend for help, but gave up on him and went straight to grandma's.

Cougar escaped unharmed after running through the house, Leah Hernandez says

Leah Hernandez, left, helped her granddaughter Shayla Aumack, right, after a cougar ended up inside Aumack's Slocan home earlier this month. Hernandez grabbed an axe and shooed the animal out the door. (Shayla Aumack)

A grandmother in rural B.C. took charge after a cougar ended up in her granddaughter's West Kootenay home earlier this month.

She grabbed an axe and promptly shooed the animal right out of there.

Leah Hernandez and her granddaughter, Shayla Aumack, live a few metres apart in Slocan, about 70 kilometres north of Nelson. 

Aumack, 20, came home to find a cougar in her woodshed — which is attached to her house — around 10 p.m. on March 3.

She tried to ask a friend for help but soon gave up on him and went to grandma's.

A 'commotion'

Hernandez walked out on her front porch and shone a flashlight towards her granddaughter's house.

Two black eyes caught the light.

"Then there was a commotion," Hernandez said.

The women started shouting at Aumack's roommate, Levi Gray, to stay inside the house — but he misunderstood and opened the door.

Shayla Aumack, 20, took a photo of the cougar inside her house on March 3. Aumack's grandma, Leah Hernandez, helped herd the animal out the door. (Shayla Aumack)

"Then the dog ran out, and the cats ran out, and then the big cougar came after the dog and I thought, 'Well, we can't have this,'" Hernandez said.

The grandmother, who's in her 60s, went down to her basement, grabbed her axe and "went right over there."

By that time, the dog had chased the cougar into the house.

"She's in the corner. She's on the piano. She's jumping up onto the top of the fridge. She's into the kitchen, knocking things over," said Hernandez, describing the cat's path through the house.

Listen to Hernandez tell the story on CBC's Daybreak South:

Aumack called her friends for help after the cougar dashed upstairs.

"The guys came and asked what they could do, and I said 'Well, you'll have to climb up back there onto the back porch and see if you can scare her back downstairs that way," Hernandez said.

"You know, 'this person stands there; that one has to stand here, and, then, we have to stand over there' ... it was quite the experience."

An escape

Then all at once, the cougar ran out.

"We finally got her back down the stairs and instead of running out the door, she went back into the front room ... I get someone to stand at the bottom of the stairs and I shooed her around, got her into the hallway and out the hallway and out the back door and away she went."

Hernandez said the cougar looked to be less than a year old and wasn't harmed. Conservation officers were called, but they said they couldn't do much as the cat had already run off.

"Poor little thing was terrified," Hernandez said.

With files from Bob Keating

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