Renfrewshire farmer says sheep killed by big cat|shearluck|lewisoll@yahoo.co.uk|10/13/07 at 15:08:13|shearluck|xx|0|86.160.225.247|[quote]A FARMER yesterday claimed a leopard savaged his flock of sheep and
killed two of them in a vicious attack.

Animal carcasses, with their heads ripped off, have been found at the
edge of dense woodland; cattle have stampeded, and livestock which
have gone missing have never been recovered.

Anxious farmer Hugh Caldwell revealed: "I believe a leopard or panther
is causing the trouble. And I think there are a few of them around the
Paisley area."

He told how three Blackface sheep were attacked during the night and
huge teeth holes spanning nine inches were found on each of their
necks.

Hugh, who is in his 50s, said: "A dog or fox wouldn't cause that bite
span, it's got to be a much larger animal and a big cat fits the bill."

Hugh added: "There is no doubt in my mind a panther or leopard is on
the prowl in the Renfrewshire woodlands. There is possibly a family of
them."

He spoke of his fears at the family home in East Mitchelton Farm in
Kilbarchan which lies between Howwood and Lochwinnoch.

Hugh said three of his sheep were attacked on the same night, adding:
"It was the teeth marks on their necks that worried me. The bite marks
were from ear to ear.

"All three sheep were alive following the attacks but two of them died
after their wounds became infected. The third pulled through and is
now back out in the field.

"This is just the latest incident in a spate of them over many months.
I have missing animals and I've come across headless carcasses but I
can't be sure they are from my flock.

"Dogs and foxes wouldn't eat and strip carcasses of flesh and meat to
this extent. But a big cat would do this.

"That's why I'm convinced a leopard or panther is roaming this
countryside."

Hugh has alerted the police and they are carrying out an
investigation. One officer said: "We are taking this report seriously
as we have many others over the years.

"If anyone knows anything about a big cat in their area and has
photographic proof ring Johnstone Police Office on 01505 404000."

Mark Fraser, who runs the Scottish Big Cat Society, said three types
of cats have been reported in the Paisley area over years the
lynx-like cat, the tawny animal and the black cat, with the latter
making up 65 per cent of all reports.

Paisley Gleniffer Braes, the Merchiston area of Johnstone, Lochwinnoch
and Howwood areas are hot-spots for big cat sightings.

Mark said: "A jet-black cat measuring about four feet in length has
been spotted on the outskirts of Clyde Muirshiel Park heading into
Parkhill Woods.

"One was also seen dashing across the A737 near Howwood and ramblers
were confronted by a similar animal not far from Barrhead."

Villagers in Lochwinnoch have found unusual tracks on the ground after
spotting a three-feet long black feline.

A lair thought to belong to a large feline has been uncovered near
Lochwinnoch.

Mark is urging people who have spotted a big cat to come forward and
help him with his research.

He said: "We are appealing for witnesses of big cats to get in touch.

"We would especially like to hear from people who believe they have
hard evidence in the form of video footage, photographs or prints, as
well as evidence of livestock kills."

For information e-mail Mark on annie100@ukonline.co.uk or ring 07940
016972.

Paisley Daily Express 1/10/07
http://icrenfrewshire.icnetwork.co.uk/pde/tm_headline=killer-beast-ripped-sheep-to-pieces%26method=full%26objectid=19876618%26siteid=63858-name_page.html
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