Report from Chris Smith
Two sightings of a wild puma-like cat have been reported in Dumfriesshire. A Boreland couple spotted the animal as they drove home from Corrie North of Lockerbie. And only a few days later a Hawick family saw a large cat crossing the A7 near Canonbie. Both reported that the animal measured about six feet in length. And they have insisted that it was not a domestic cat or dog. Police spokesman Graeme Galloway said yesterday: "It has been described as a puma."
The first sighting was made by John and Nancy Carruthers of Burnside View, Boreland, at about 9.30pm last Tuesday. They claimed that a large black cat the size of a Labrador dog crossed the road in front of them. The second sighting was made at about 1pm by Iain Brown, his wife and children, as they travelled the A7 near Canonbie.
Sgt. Galloway said: "Both he and his wife were absolutely certain it was not a dog or domestic cat." They told how the animal 'sauntered' across the road near the Kirkpatrick Fleming junction before disappearing into the undergrowth about 200 yards in front of them.
The police have issued a warning to Farm Watch schemes in the area, but have stressed that the cat is unlikely to pose a threat to members of the public.
"They are very shy animals and present little or no danger," said Sgt. Galloway. "They are scared very easily if you make a noise and wave your arms about. What we do not want is anybody to try and hunt this animal. If it was wounded the danger would obviously increase."
There is no record of anyone in this country having been injured by wild cats, although they may attack and kill farm animals.
© Dumfries & Galloway Standard, July 1997
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