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Was this a Rutland Panther sighting? Big cat and Labrador-Rottweiler cross dog in 'stand off' at Wakerley Woods

When a couple took their pet dog Loki for a weekend walk, they didn't expect it to be confronted by a 'big cat'.

But after seeing their Labrador-Rottweiler cross in a stand off with the animal, they want to warn people that it could strike again.

And having not believed in big cat sightings before, they are now convinced that there is one on the loose near Rutland.

Loki the Labrador-Rottweiler cross who was in a stand off with a big cat in Wakerley Woods
Loki the Labrador-Rottweiler cross who was in a stand off with a big cat in Wakerley Woods

Kayleigh and Adam Holmes took Loki to Wakerley Woods close on Sunday afternoon.

Kayleigh said: "The dog was running around and he ran into a wooded area.

"My husband ran after him to the top of a steep hill and saw the dog growling at a big cat, which was also making noises.

Big cat sightings are plentiful in Rutland
Big cat sightings are plentiful in Rutland

"It's not what my husband was expecting to see at all.

"He picked up a log and threw it - not at the cat, but so that it would scare away."

Kayleigh's husband described the cat as 'twice the size' of Loki with large legs, bright yellow eyes, fangs and a long tail.

"When my husband threw the log the cat pounced back into the woods and Loki ran back to my husband. He seemed relieved."

Loki had a nasty scratch on his nose and has limped since the incident, although Kayleigh was keen to stress they cannot be sure the injuries were caused by the big cat because they didn't see them happen.

The dog has received veterinary treatment, and is eating and healing well.

Kayleigh rang 101 to report the incident to police, who have shared the information with the Forestry Commission that owns the woods. and is keen to warn others who go to the woods to walk their dogs.

Having dismissed big cat sightings by other people that she had read about in the past, Kayleigh now says "I do think they're out there".

Those sceptical about black panther sightings have sometimes said 'it's probably a Labrador' but Kayleigh explained that as owners of a black Lab cross, they are well aware of the difference.

Belinda Williams, who lives in Glapthorn, said that having seen big cats in and around her village before, on Tuesday she saw one on the edge of Southwick Wood, about six miles south-east of Wakerley.

"It was sat up very straight staring at the hedge," she said. "It was a very big, much bigger than I have seen in the past.

"I went for my phone to take a photo as I was close enough to take a good photo. It didn't seem to notice or care that I was near it.

"I was close enough to be able to tell you that this cat is definitely a black leopard as in the sunlight I could see the spots.

"Unfortunately as I went for my phone I realised I had forgotten it.

"Because the cat was staring hard at the hedge I was interested to see what it was looking at; next to the track is a gate way to a field so I had a look from the road and to my shock I saw a second, smaller cat laying in the grass next to the hedge."

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