Report from George Markie
Police in North East Fife are looking into the latest possible sighting of the "big cat" which is said to be roaming local countryside. Investigations were taking place yesterday morning. at the home of Cupar solicitor George McQuitty who contacted police after his son Luke had a spot of late-night excitement.
The family live at Dalgairn, on the northern outskirts of the town, and their house has extensive grounds. Fourteen-year-old Luke was alerted late on Wednesday night when the family labrador started going "berserk" in the garden. When he went outside he saw a large black animal run off through the snow, and immediately contacted his father, who was out for the evening. Luke said yesterday that when he heard the dog making a noise in its kennel outside he went to investigate.
"There was a pool of light in the garden and the cat was on the edge of it. It was bigger than our labrador Suliven and seemed to me to be about waist high.
"It had a long black tail and high hips and held itself close to the ground.
"When I came out it loped off over the garden and I decided that there was no way I was going after it. I'm in no doubt about what I saw," he said.
Mr McQuitty said he had been aware of big cat stories for several years and had kept an open mind about the situation.
"Luke is convinced that what he saw was larger than a dog, and was a big cat. His description certainly ties in with a cat-like animal.
"When I took the dog out into the woods this morning she was still behaving very unusually.
"There were tracks in the garden, but we don't really know if they were made by our own dog or not. The police have been up taking photographs and casts and they might be able to come up with an answer."
There have been many sightings of a 'big cat' in North East Fife in recent years, and they have been made over a wide area from Kingskettle to Anstruther. Whether there is more than one animal on the loose is unknown but there have been occasions when more than one person has been involved in a sighting.
One man who has become something of an expert on the subject is retired police officer George Redpath, who collated information on incidents. On the brink of his retiral in 1999 PC Redpath was working in the Balmullo area and himself saw a large cat twice in the space of a few days. His description of a large black cat with a long tail which "sat on a fence and looked at him" matches the latest information from the McQuitty house.
Dundee Courier 2nd MARCH 2001
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