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Big cat suspected in horse attack, Ca 11/08

 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:11 pm    Post subject: Big cat suspected in horse attack, Ca 11/08 Reply with quote

Big cat suspected in horse attack
Posted By MAGGIE RIOPELLE, TRIBUNE STAFF
Posted 11 hours ago


A property owner, who earlier this week lost a horse to some kind of attack, feared yesterday his barn was again being stalked by a wild animal.

His fears a cougar was in his barn led to a full response from Niagara Regional Police, Welland and District Humane Society and even paramedics.

At about 11 a. m., authorities were called to Horses Unlimited at 225 Darby Rd. after a report of a possible cougar in the barn. The property owners brought police and Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals agents around their property, where they pointed out animal tracks, bringing them to the barn.

An officer, with what appeared to be a shotgun, entered the barn while Niagara EMS arrived on scene, as did representatives from the Endangered Animal Rescue Society of Niagara.

After an hour and a half on scene, SPCA agent John Greer said the property had been cleared and no cougar or large cat had been found.

He did confirm that a few days prior to this call, a horse had been seriously wounded at the same site.

It was euthanized by a veterinarian but Greer couldn't say whether the horse had been attacked by a cougar or comment on the conditions of the wound.

Property owners refused to speak to media and would not allow reporters on the property.

"We were called because (the owner) had heard something in the upper part of the barn," said Greer, adding investigators did look at tracks in the snow surrounding the property but there was no evidence inside the barn and there were no animals attacked yesterday.

He did say, however, that "something spooked the horses" and authorities were taking every precaution. The Ministry of Natural Resources was called out to investigate the horse attack days earlier but decided not to attend to investigate yesterday, said Greer, which may have been because SPCA agents were able to respond.

The SPCA, he said, is the authority with wildlife calls unless the ministry is on scene. Greer said the society takes a lot of calls about cat sightings, most often referred to as cougars, but they are difficult to investigate since typically the animal is long gone when agents arrive.



As for attacks, Greer said while the SPCA takes quite a few calls from people who claim they have spotted a large cat, very few involve attacks on animals. Last year, a resident on Cope Road had her horse attacked by what she suspected was a large cat. The horse had what appeared to be large claw marks on its back end and tracks were also found on the property.

The SPCA, he said, won't patrol Darby Road or take any other such action as it would be difficult to find the cat. As for any potential trapping of the animal, Greer said that would be a matter for ministry to decide and handle.

Article ID# 1322691
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