Report from Mark Fraser
Local couple, (Kilmarnock.) Duncan and Alex Binning use the Dean Castle Park Estates pretty regularly for walks and exercising their dogs. Late one evening in February 1994, the two dogs they had with them began acting nervously. The largest and oldest had spent its life on working farms, out late on dark winter nights and was not put to fright easily. They walked on a few paces and then heard the sound of snapping twigs coming from the trees that lined the drive-way that they were walking along, now heading for the car park on the edge of Dean Road. The couple now became nervous themselves as they had never seen their dogs react in such a way before, the younger one of the two now having come to walk in-between the couples legs. As they reached the car park Duncan took a look over his shoulder and saw in the darkness behind them two yellow cat-like eyes which belonged to a large black animal, standing much taller then the dogs, forty feet away. Becoming more then a little afraid at the unknown creatures presence the couple leashed the dogs and left the area rapidly. Duncan tells me that the creature was definitely cat-like, maybe it was a wild cat he says but he has never heard one of that size before, and certainly not one to make the dogs react in such obvious terror.
A few days later while out walking the dogs but this time in the area of the walled garden not far from Assloss Cottage, the dogs began acting strangely again. Then both Duncan and Alex heard the sound of "purring", like that of a domestic cat but much, much louder. This time, remembering what he had seen the other evening they left quickly, Duncan did not bother to look over his shoulder as before. He also mentions that he and Alex have used the castle grounds to exercise their dogs for many years and it is only on those two occasions that they experienced anything like that. The dogs when in the grounds before and even after the incidents have been fine and displayed no odd behaviour at all.
Another near-by resident living in the New Farm Loch area of Kilmarnock also talks of the strange behaviour of his dog in the early part of 1994 but cannot remember exactly which month. For a year she and his faithful hound have walked the estates without incident except for the time when the dog flatly refused to enter the grounds, each evening for about a week. No amount of coaxing would entice the yelping, quivering animal into the grounds. Then one evening after sniffing the air, the animal entered without any problem at all. The dog's owner is quite simply puzzled as to what his pets problem was, "But frightened he was, never before or since."
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