BAILEY, Colo. – The family of an 8-year-old boy who was attacked by a mountain lion in Bailey this week said the child had surgery for multiple lacerations on his head and face and that he was still recovering this weekend.
"Our son is a compassionate and brave little boy," the family said in a statement released through the Platte Canyon Fire Protection District on Saturday. "He will need time for additional treatment and healing. We thank everyone for their overwhelming support, expressions of concern and offers of help. At this difficult time, we ask for your patience and the time for our family to adjust and heal."
The fire district on Saturday also confirmed that a GoFundMe account for the family had been set up. About $1,100 had been raised as of Saturday afternoon.
Officials said earlier this week that the boy was "doing well in light of the circumstances."
A mountain lion attacked the boy and bit his head on Wednesday night in the Burland Ranchettes subdivision of Bailey, about an hour southwest of Denver.
He was playing outside with his brother heard his friend next door calling, so he ran over to the home. But that movement may have triggered a nearby mountain lion to perceive the boy as prey, and the animal attacked, officials said.
The boy's brother ran inside the home for their father, who then rushed outside. As the father approached the mountain lion, which was on top of his son, the animal let go and ran away.
CPW officers had captured two lions and euthanized them on Thursday, and they believed one of the lions was involved in the attack on the boy.
The captured lions had killed a domestic goat on a property in Bailey. After removing the mountain lions from the area, officers received reports of three more lions on the same property.
Officers also received several trail-camera pictures of mountain lions in the area on the day of the attack. CPW on Friday warned residents in the Burland Ranchettes area to stay vigilant for mountain lions, but no active searches for the lions were underway.
The euthanized lions were about a year old, according to CPW estimates, and both weighed about 65 pounds and were in good condition. Both lions had stomachs full of goat and they appeared to have been eating well, CPW said. They were sent to a lab in Wyoming for DNA analysis to confirm if they were involved in the attack.
Since 1990, 22 mountain lion attacks on humans have been recorded in Colorado. Three of those — in 1991, 1997 and 1999 — were fatal. Three people have been injured in mountain lion attacks so far this year in the state.
The first occurred in February at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. A 31-year-old runner fought off a young mountain lion that stalked and attacked him in the park. He killed the lion before running back down to the trailhead.
The second attack happened on Aug. 10 northeast of Kremmling. A man encountered a young mountain lion near the Big Horn Park subdivision and fought it off with a pocket knife. Wildlife officers located the animal, which had an empty stomach and was likely very hungry, a few days later and put it down.