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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Girl attacked by cougar released from ICU; animal tests negative for rabies

Lily Kryzhanivskyy, the 9-year-old girl attacked by a cougar in Stevens County  last weekend, has been released from the ICU, according to a press release from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.   ((Courtesy of the U.S. National Park Service))

A 9-year-old girl attacked by a cougar while attending a summer camp in Stevens County has been released from the ICU, according to a news release from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on Tuesday.

Lily Kryzhanivskyy and two other children were playing hide-and-seek in the forest near the camp around Fruitland when she was attacked Saturday morning. Lily was transported to the hospital following the incident, and was released from the intensive care unit Monday, the release said.

The young girl suffered injuries to her upper torso and face, requiring her to undergo surgery for several hours before spending a few days in the intensive care unit, according to a GoFundMe page set up by Lily’s uncle, Alex Mantesvich. By Tuesday afternoon, the page had received around 800 donations for Lily’s medical care for a total of about $73,000 of the $100,000 goal.

Lily’s mother, Yelena Ustimenko, told the Department of Fish and Wildlife that Lily wanted people to know she was “very brave and tough” during the attack, according to the release.

Staci Lehman, communications manager at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said department officers located the cougar and killed it in order to perform a necropsy and test for rabies. Tests conducted over the weekend determined the animal was not rabid.

Although encounters are quite rare, Lehman said it’s important not to flee if a cougar is present. That can trigger a chase response from the cougar, so the department recommends making eye contact while backing away slowly.

If the animal approaches, individuals should try to look as big as possible while shouting and throwing rocks. They recommend those hiking and recreating in the backcountry carry bear spray.

Cougar attacks on humans are rare. Prior to this incident, only 19 attacks resulting in injuries and two fatal attacks occurred in Washington in the past 100 years, according to the release.