Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 21st, 2008
The breaking news headline says it all: “Deputy kills jaguar … or was it leopard?”
Neosho, Missouri — A Newton County deputy shot and killed a large, black cat of uncertain species Monday morning, May 19, 2008, when the animal, either a leopard or a jaguar, charged him.
Capt. Richard Leavens of the Newton County Sheriff’s Department said Vickie Sanders, 61, called shortly after 6 a.m. Monday to report what she took to be “a black panther” at the door of her home at 9555 Orchid Drive, southwest of Neosho.
When Cpl. Donn Hall of the Sheriff’s Department arrived, he spotted a large, black cat standing on its hind legs and pawing at a storm door of the home.
“When he got out of his car, it charged him,” Leavens said. “He fired on it and wounded it. It ran past him to the end of the driveway and then came back at him.”
Hall left his patrol car with a shotgun and fired two shots on the cat’s initial charge, Leavens said. As the cat charged a second time, Hall fired additional shotgun blasts and then pulled his .45-caliber Glock handgun, he said.
“It took several shots with that to get one that took effect,” Leavens said.
Hall escaped any injury from the cat, as did Sanders and her dogs, Leavens said.
Sanders had been hanging some laundry on a clothesline in her yard when the cat appeared and started toward her, Leavens said. She told the Sheriff’s Department that one of her dogs “intercepted” the cat, allowing her time to get inside her home along with her dogs.
The cat then began pawing on the door of the home and kept it up until Hall arrived, Leavens said.
A state Conservation Department officer was called to the scene after the animal was killed. While the species of the animal was not immediately certain, the suspicion was that it was not accustomed to living in the wild.
“This most likely was a kept animal that either had been dumped out or had gotten away,” Leavens said.
He said officers could see, after it had been killed, that its claws had been surgically removed.
He said there has been some speculation that the cat might have been on the loose in the wake of the recent tornado damage in the region.
Source: “Deputy kills jaguar … or was it leopard?” by Jeff Lehr, The Joplin Globe, Joplin, Missouri, May 20, 2008.
A Newton County deputy shot and killed what experts believe to have been a domesticated black panther Monday outside of Neosho as it tried to batter its way into a woman’s home.
Sheriff’s deputy Cpl. Donn Hall, who was not available for comment Tuesday, responded to a 9-1-1 call from a resident at 9555 Orchid Drive, southwest of Neosho, who told dispatchers a panther was trying to get in her back door.
“Most of the time when you get a call like that you’re like ‘Ok, whatever’” said Capt. Richard Leavens, patrol supervisor with the sheriff’s department.
But when Hall arrived at the residence just after 6 a.m., he was met by the reported panther, which began running toward him. According to Leavens, Hall grabbed his service 12-gauge shotgun and pumped two shells into the attacking animal. Initially deterred, the panther retreated down the driveway, but then turned back and came at Hall again. He had time to squeeze off his last shotgun round and then drew his Glock .45 service pistol and emptied the clip into the cat, which dropped it.
“You’re shooting at something about the size of a pie-plate (the panther’s head) and then the adrenaline dumps on you,” Leavens noted. “He didn’t do too bad.”
The resident, who was not identified, later told officers that she had been outside when the panther ran at her. She screamed and took off for her house. The cat would have overtaken her if her dogs hadn’t jumped in to fight the animal off. It bought her the time she needed to reach her door and call the police. To her horror, the panther — who had brushed the dogs aside — then tried to break its way through the door to get at her.
Hall arrived shortly thereafter. The dogs weren’t injured in the fight.
The panther, meanwhile, was later weighed in at 60 pounds and measured roughly three feet. Leavens said agents from the Department of Conservation were called in to examine the corpse and said the cat, a male, wasn’t a fully matured adult. Interestingly, it had been de-clawed, indicating someone had owned it as a pet.
“Or at least they were keepers, I don’t know who would want to have a ‘pet’ like that,” Leavens said.
While exotic animals are legal to keep in Missouri, it requires a permit, which is kept on file at the county sheriff’s department. Leavens said the only such permit in Newton County is for — oddly enough — a Bengal Tiger. He said the department had not been notified of anyone in the area reporting a missing panther.
However, considering the cat’s range can be considerable, sometimes more than 100 miles from its home, Leavens said it might not have originated from very close-by.
Meanwhile, Hall was given the carcass of the animal and is having it stuffed at a Joplin taxidermist, Leavens said.
“Well, he will to have something to show his grandkids as proof,” he joked.
Source: “Black Panther Killed in Neosho,” by Wes Franklin, Neosho Daily News, May 20, 2008.
What species is it? Declawing would indicate a pet. A pet black jaguar would be a rarity. A former pet black leopard, Indian versus African, would be my guess. Still, I’d like to see a photo of this animal and DNA tests done.
I attempted to talk to the Newton County Sheriff, to determine if any further information is available on what species this “black panther” is. I was able to talk to two dispatchers who did not know, and then only was connected to an answering machine at the sheriffs’s office.
Look back here for any updates, from me or from Cryptomundians below.
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.