'I saw Huttock Top Beast'|selkie|fiddleinthesky@hotmail.com|02/24/08 at 21:57:51|selkie|xx|0|82.6.24.51|A PET lover who claims to have seen a mysterious big cat is refusing to walk her dog in the area again over fears it will be attacked.

Terrified Emma Ashworth even takes a stick out with her when she walks her pug puppy Percy.

In recent weeks residents across the Valley have seen the wild cat, dubbed the Huttock Top Beast, roaming on the moors.

It was mid-January when Emma had an encounter with the big cat while walking her 15-week-old pug puppy Percy along the lane by Huttock Top Farm in Bacup – the location of the original sighting.

She said: ‘About 100 metres away I saw this black cat; It had that really distinctive way of walking that cats have but it was about the size of a big dog.

‘It walked across the path and into the field.

‘I was scared to death. I walked up the lane a bit and looked into the field but I couldn’t see anything; it was raining, an awful day, but I wanted to get away in case it came back and ate my dog – or me.’

Emma, who lives on Bankside Lane, is now too afraid to enter her back garden at night, and won’t allow Percy in the garden alone.

She and husband Jason now take a big stick with them when they walk Percy near Huttock Top Farm.

Danny Bamping of the British Big Cat Society confirmed that there had been increasing numbers of sightings reported in Lancashire.

He said: ‘As I am from Bolton originally I know the area well and it’s quite rural and has some perfect places for these cats to live, feed and survive.

‘I urge anyone who thinks that they may have seen a big cat in the area to report it to the police and also via our website at www.britishbigcats.org.’

http://www.rossendalefreepress.co.uk/news/s/1037754_i_saw_huttock_top_beast||