Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Panther tracks found

New Carlisle resident says he saw big cat in field; deputies on hunt.
NEW CARLISLE — Several footprints that apparently belong to a large exotic cat have been found in the area.
Resident Jeff Brown said his neighbor, Matt Cooper, called him Sunday morning saying he’d spotted what looked like a panther sunning itself in his hay field in the New Carlisle area.
“He called me and said, ‘I just shot at something out back. I think I might have hit it,’ ” Brown said.
Believing it to be a black panther, the two set out with Clark County sheriff deputies but could not find it. However, they did find several footprints authorities said looked like those of a large cat.
Sheriff Gene Kelly said after receiving reports of a panther in the Harrison Twp. area in Montgomery County, he believes it could be the same cat.
“It could have followed the river and come north,” he said. “We have alerted Miami County and Champaign County since this area borders those other counties.”
Brown said he’s sure it was a panther, about 4 feet in length. He tied a large piece of venison in a nearby tree, and when he checked back hours later, something had devoured it.
Deputies are following up, and Kelly said anyone who spots the animal should notify his office and not try to catch it.
Following the release of several exotic animals in Muskingham County that had to be put down by authorities, Kelly said he’d like to apprehend the animal “in the most humane way” possible.
“We would certainly like to capture this animal safely and make sure the community is safe as well,” Kelly said.

By Jessica Heffner, Staff Writer

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