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'I Could've Died': Larimer County Deputy Describes Being Attacked By Rabid Mountain Lion

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) — A Larimer County Sheriff's Office deputy believes she is lucky to be alive after a mountain lion attacked her. Video online showed the moment LCSO Deputy Michelle Ross was attacked by a 91-pound male mountain lion at the Riverview RV Park near Loveland on Wednesday.

Larimer County Sheriff's Deputy Michelle Ross (credit: CBS)

"I could've died. That literally was a fight for my life. It was either kill or be killed," Ross told CBS4's Dillon Thomas. "Within two seconds it went from underneath the trailer to on my shoulder where I got bit."

Ross was one of several law enforcement officers who responded to the park after a man was attacked by the same lion. That man, who was not identified publicly, was saved by a UPS driver who was nearby.

"I found a piece of pallet, and I started hitting (the lion) and he just took off," said Alejandro Rodriguez, the UPS driver.

Moments later, when Ross and others arrived, the mountain lion refused to leave the property. Sirens and attempts at yelling at the lion failed, as it chose not to run in to the open fields.

(credit: CBS)

"It (was) choosing to go towards people. I knew there was something wrong," said Cindy Kirby, a Larimer County Dept. of Natural Resources Ranger.

The lion lunged at Ross and latched to her shoulder, taking her to the ground. It layer bit her arm as well, as Ranger Chris Gardner kicked its side.

"That cat wanted to kill me. It had its mind set six inches away from my face, my throat. That was it," Ross said. "At that point you don't really have time to sit there and ponder. You just do. I threw a mountain lion off myself, that doesn't happen very often."

The mountain lion was later shot and killed.

mountain lion attack larimer county
(credit: CBS)

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said the lion tested positive for rabies. Ross, and the unidentified male who was attacked, both were treated at Medical Center of the Rockies for their injuries, and rabies.

Ross credited the fellow first responders, and the staff at MCR, for saving her life.

"I feel extremely lucky. You know, don't tell me that God is not real," Ross said. "I am extremely lucky to be here and have fantastic people that I work with."

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