BIG CAT SIGHTED|Richard_F||05/31/04 at 17:15:05|richard_f|xx|0||the Dumfries News:
Dumfries News
May 28 2004

A LARGE black, panther-like cat has been spotted roaming around the
Thornhill and Auldgirth area.
Two specific sightings of the beast have been reported.
Jackie Oram, of Kinnell Street, Thornhill, was walking her two dogs on a
pathway behind her home when she saw the cat on Sunday evening.
She stood quietly, 20 yards behind the large animal, and watched it for
about ten minutes.
When one of the dogs came back to the track it raced off.
Jackie said: "I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the cat, it was jet
black, had a long tail and was about waist height to an adult.
"It was sitting with its back to me looking at bushes. My first instinct was
to get the hell out of there but I was just too curious and stood about 15
to 20 yards behind it for about ten minutes.
"I've never seen a cat like it before, not even at the zoo when I was
younger, it was the kind of cat you would see in films."
Jackie's description of the beast is almost identical to another report from
a Thornhill man.
Former policeman Elliot Crosbie spotted a cat when he was fishing at
Auldgirth two weeks ago.
He said: "I was down at the River Nith with my girlfriend when I spotted
what I thought was a black Labrador coming round the corner in the distance.
"However as it approached I realised it was actually a large black cat by
the way it swayed and it had the long tail, like a panther.
"I shouted to get my girlfriend's attention so she could see it but the
shout alerted the cat and it turned and headed off in the other direction."
Mr Crosbie spotted the animal at about 8.15pm and afterwards he retraced its
route and took a photo of a paw print with his mobile phone.
He added: "I was surprised more than anything else to actually see the cat,
I've heard about other sightings in the area but I didn't expect to see it
Police wildlife officers have spoken to Mr Crosbie about the incident and
have insisted that they will follow up any hard evidence of sightings in the