Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 11th, 2011
Local Dayton, Ohio animal control officials on July 11, 2011, confirmed three sightings earlier this year of a black leopard, but said the public shouldn’t panic. One wonders why they waited so long to go public with the information. It turns that an internet scoop caused officials to react with a statement. Why were they keeping the sightings quiet?
The “leopard” (no one has confirmed it is a leopard; that’s just what the media is calling it) hasn’t been seen since April 2011, said Tim Harrison, director of Outreach for Animals, a local nonprofit dedicated to educating the public on the dangers of owning exotic animals. Maj. Dave Hale of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said two sightings were around the Stillwater River and Frederick Pike. No one has reported a pet leopard missing to the sheriff’s office, he said, and the animal — if it is real — could be well out of the area by now, according to the Dayton Daily News.
Investigators from Outreach for Animals and the Humane Society of Greater Dayton searched the area three times with infrared cameras and haven’t seen so much as a paw print in nearly two months. “This cat is most likely back with his owners,” Harrison said.
A black leopard averages in size from 60 to 100 pounds. One witness said it was bigger than a black Labrador Retriever, with a long bushy tail.
A number of people in the Dayton area own leopards and African lions, said Harrison, a retired Oakwood police officer. “They do get out every once in a while,” he said.
Ohio is one of less than 10 states that don’t regulate ownership of wild animals, according to the U.S. Humane Society. Regulations are now under study by Gov. Kasich’s administration.
Harrison said owning an exotic animal is like having a “time bomb” that could go off at any time, even in its owner’s home.
“If you see something like this please do not run, because that triggers a natural instinct in the cat to chase you and knock you down,” Harrison said.
The Daily, an iPad news app, published an article Monday on the leopard saying the animal was prowling streets and parks. “(The article) shouldn’t have been done the way it was,” Harrison said.
Maybe it was a “black mystery panther,” a Panthera atrox, or an unknown melanistic cryptid puma, after all, and not a “black leopard.”
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.