Dog's skull fractured while defending California woman from mountain lion

State wildlife officials are investigating a mountain lion attack that left a woman's dog badly injured in Northern California. 

Erin Wilson, 24,  said her Belgian Malinois, Eva, is a hero for grappling with the animal.

"My dog is a hero and I owe her my life," Wilson wrote on a GoFundMe page. 

Her husband, Connor Kenny, shared photos of his wife and their pet with KTVU, adding that Eva was also taken to the vet. According to Wilson, Eva had two skull fractures, a puncture in her sinus cavity and swelling around her left eye. 

The dog's injuries stemmed from Monday at 3 p.m. when Wilson was driving in Trinity County, along Highway 299, when she stopped her car and started walking down a path with Eva in Big Bar, four hours northwest of Sacramento. 

Eva was slightly ahead of her when she noticed a movement beside her. That's when a mountain lion swiped her across the left shoulder, injuring her, according to California Fish and Wildlife Lt. Patrick Foy.

Wildlife officials said the woman screamed out and her dog tried to defend her.  The cougar bit onto the dog's head and would not let go.

Wilson threw rocks at the mountain lion, tugged, pulled, and even attempted to gouge the eyes out of the mountain lion, state wildlife officials said. However, none of those tactics worked.

She went back up the road and flagged down a passing motorist when eventually stopped. The driver retrieved a can of pepper spray and sprayed the cougar in the face, but it had little to no effect.

Authorities said the mountain lion was trying to move off the trail and take the dog to another area.

Wilson and the driver eventually retrieved a piece of PVC pipe and began hitting the mountain lion with it until it finally released the dog, officials said.

Wilson drove her dog straight to a veterinarian for emergency treatment. The dog's condition is guarded, and it's unclear whether she will survive, which is why the couple weren't able to speak about it more detail on Tuesday. 

Wilson then drove herself to receive medical treatment in Redding. She had suffered bite wounds, scratches, bruises, and abrasions. 

Wilson started a GoFundMe for Eva.