'Panther attacked dog' in Northamptonshire woods

A couple out walking their dog were given a fright - after a big cat they say looked like a panther came face-to-face with their pet.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 12:16 am
Black panther stock image

An East Northamptonshire woman, who did not want to be named, was with her husband in Wakerley Wood in the north of the county when the incident took place on Sunday (October 13).

Her dog, a rottweiler cross labrador, was off the lead and went into the wood. It was found growling and face-to-face with the big cat they described as a panther.

The woman said: "It was about two or three times bigger than my dog and black.

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Wakerley Wood.

"It was scruffy looking and had yellow eyes.

"What else could it have been?"

Her dog suffered a claw injury to the face and was taken to see a vet. The woman said she couldn't be certain but that the injury may have come from the big cat.

She reported it to police and was told that there had been other similar reports.

The dog suffered what is believed to be a claw injury to the face.

A police spokesman confirmed the reported attack was called into them at 4.45pm.

The spokesman said: "We have made the Forestry Commission aware as it is their land."

A Facebook post about the incident warning other dog walkers has had more than 1,000 shares.

The woman said: "I won't be taking the dog back there.

"A lot of people are saying that we are making it up but we really are not."

The sighting is the latest in a long line of possible big cats seen in Northamptonshire and nearby Rutland.

On March 31 this year Kettering man Craig Smith was convinced he also saw a panther in Wakerley Wood.

In 2012 a couple spotted a big cat in the same woodlands with other sightings near Gretton.

There was also a sighting of a big cat in 2008 in Wellingborough.

And in 2004 there were six sightings across our area in just two weeks.

Chris Lawton, from Rutland Wildlife Sanctuary, said the Wakerley Wood sighting could have been a panther.

He said: "There have been a lot of reports of it.

"A lot of people have had stock going missing such as sheep and lambs.

"We once had a report from someone staying at Barnsdale Lodge saying they saw a big cat coming across the road."

A Forestry Commission spokesman said: “We are aware of the report. Wakerley Woods is regularly visited by our local team who would report any unusual sightings.”