Thursday, May 17, 2018
CARL MARSHALL CRITIQUES TWO RECENT UK MYSTERY CAT SIGHTINGS
Carl: "The Ilfracombe sighting reported to the North Devon Gazette by Bex Fitch and her children on The Torrs could well be a valid report of what might have been a genuine big cat. Unfortunately, simply being described as a "large dark cat" does not help us to identify this animal to a specific level. However, the basic anatomy described by the witnesses could indicate a medium to large sized Felid of unknown species, this along with the fact the mystery animal was viewed for a full five to seven minutes would seen to limit the possibility of misidentification on the part of Miss Fitch and her family. On a relatively light spring evening five to seven minutes would likely be more than enough time to spot some canine features at close range should they have simply witnessed an escaped or feral domestic dog! To me this report sounds genuine enough!"
Carl: "If i had to bet money as to the identity of the animal responsible for the attack on the unfortunate ewe near Churchstow and photographed for the Totnes Times, I would say it was likely the work of a large domestic dog with very powerful jaw muscles such as a German shepherd or possibly even one of the bull breeds. The fact there was only one deep injury located on the hind quarters of the sheep does indicate canine activity, and more than likely has nothing whatsoever to do with the local eyewitness reports such as the one described by Mr Turner in the South Hams. If a large cat had dragged down a sheep and started eating its hind area (which they often do!) the sheep would have very likely been killed beforehand. Domestic dogs usually chase down one or more sheep by biting at any area that comes into close range of their primary weapon - the teeth and jaws! This usually means grabbing the unfortunate sheep by its hind limbs and dragging it down, however a very powerful dog would likely be fully capable of snatching a sheep by its flesh and connective tissues and tearing a chunk away after several violent tugs. The fact there were no other injures present such as deep slashes caused by teeth and claws around the head, neck, and shoulders strongly indicates a single dog worrying incident."
Posted by Jon Downes at 2:38 PM