Change of heart by big cat sceptic
by Hector Mackenzie
Sheena MacBain - certain she saw a big cat.A ROSS-SHIRE woman who had dismissed big cat sightings as "totally fantastical" had a dramatic change of heart after seeing a mysterious black creature cross the road in front of her.Sheena MacBain, who grew up hearing about sightings of big cats, says she was always supremely sceptical about such stories until her own close encounter of an unexplained kind.Ms MacBain (46), who has a BSc in Environmental Science and is the daughter of a retired gamekeeper, was sufficiently impressed by her recent encounter to put the matter on record with local police in Dornoch, and now says, "I now know that this cat story is no longer just a story."Based in Fearn, she had been making her way along the low road to Dornoch at 7.30am to view a potential gardening job when the incident occurred.She said, "I was heading along the road at Cuthill when I saw what I first thought was a black labrador dog go in under the fence at the side of the road. It took me a second to register that this 'dog' actually had a long, lush cat's tail. The fact that I own a black lab, who was with me at the time, meant I knew it wasn't a labrador I saw cross that road!"I stopped the car and could see there was a clear path down through the whin bushes and on further investigation although I didn't venture too far I could see there was actually a network of paths being used by this creature."Unsure of what to do, or whether there was someone in particular I should tell, I called into the police station at Dornoch to ask advice. The woman behind the reception desk quite literally rolled her eyes when I mentioned the words 'big cat'! She took my details and said she'd pass the information on to the wildlife liaison officer, but I have the feeling that I've been filed under 'crazy person'."
A police spokesman confirmed Northern Constabulary had dealt with a "spate" of reported big cat sightings earlier this year. Northern Constabulary itself issued a statement following two reported incidents of unexplained livestock deaths near Edderton in which they said police were "looking into the possibility that... sheep may have been attacked by a large cat, due to the nature of the injuries".
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