Tuesday, 7 May 2019

CARL WRITES: 5/4/19 - Harrowbarrow, Cornwall

Read the original stories here and here.

"So what’s killing pet cats, mauled a large dog; chasing the owner indoors, and decimating local deer populations in and around the Cornish village of Harrowbarrow?

James Stephenson, 23, from Harrowbarrow claims he witnessed his beloved Labrador Marley “taken down” as the pet roamed his one acre garden in Cornwall.

James said:

“Marley was walking the far end [of the grounds] at night and I was about twenty feet from him when he was suddenly taken down to the floor as if his legs had given way”.
Marley was covered in blood and had a deep injury on his front leg and another between his toes on his front paw.

“On his left shoulder was a big black mark, as if a muddy claw had scrapped down his side” James regrettably commented.
The mysterious animal was observed two nights later while James was patrolling the property with the aid of a powerful torch.

The RSPCA commented that the mystery predator had likely caught some prey and was eating it in James’s garden and that’s why the animal attacked Marley.

James said:

“I shouted to it and was waving my arms around to scare it off but it started to run towards me. I quickly got back inside. It was very scary”.

James’s other dog, a collie puppy named Maisy, is now also extremely nervous in the garden after dark.

One of James’s neighbours commented that there was once lots of deer in the surrounding fields, yet, there hasn’t been any for four or five months, and a local farmer claimed to have discovered a strange looking den in a patch of undisturbed woodland.

Local resident Shane Pridham, 46, believes his black domestic cat Jasper fell prey to the mysterious predator last month.

Police commented:

“We have received a single report of a big cat sighting. We took a cast of a print which the RSPCA confirmed was the pad of a large cat.”

I cannot independently confirm that the spoor in the photograph is that of a large predatory felid as the imposed dotted outline provided by the newspaper hides much of its detail, however, I will say it’s a reasonable size and the toes seem to be aligned in the expected manner. It is difficult to be certain however.

I would seriously suggest someone investigate the local woodland described and place a motion activated night vision camera in the vicinity, and also to look out for any other evidence such as fresh spoor or biological samples near the alleged den.

Unfortunately, now this report has been linked with footage taken five days later by Becky Abrey, 28, at Praa Sands of what is undoubtedly nothing more than a dark domestic cat – 100%. This second video probably has nothing to do with the attack on James’s Labrador in Harrowbarrow.

So what about James Stephenson’s original report? Well, I suppose it is entirely possible that he did actually witness a genuine attack by a large non native felid in the grounds of his family property, but without further corresponding evidence this is very difficult to ascertain.
The best thing to do now is for someone (preferably qualified) to look out for any corresponding evidence from the area such as the undisturbed woodland described by James’s neighbour and to collect, label, and date any data for future investigations.

I would expect more eyewitness reports over the next few weeks before the animal moves on!"

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