Cat-like animal sighting in Granville disputed
BRIAN MILLER • Advocate Reporter • July 22, 2010
GRANVILLE — The latest unusual animal sighting in Granville was even more inconclusive than the last.
The resident of the east side of the village who saw it said she thinks it was in the cat family. A state wildlife expert said it is more likely to be in the dog family.
Rose Wingert, of Victoria Drive, reported seeing the animal in front of her home the morning of July 13. The animal ran away quickly, but Wingert said she was able to get a good look at it.
She said her first impression had been that it might be a coyote. But after checking photos of coyotes on the Internet, she decided the animal she saw wasn’t one.
“At first, I didn’t think too much of it, but then I started wondering, ‘What was it?’” she said. “It was a lean and long animal,” she added in an e-mail. “It was not a mountain lion, but a rare type of cat.”
Contacted about identifying the animal, Andrew J. Montoney, state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services in Reynoldsburg, said based on the description from Wingert, the animal is more likely to be in the dog family than the cat family.
Montoney said there are no native “cat” species matching this description in Ohio. However, he said the description — a body about 3 feet long, a long tail and short fur of mottled (browns, blacks and grays) color — could match any of three common “dog-like” species native to Ohio: the coyote, red fox and gray fox.
It also could have been a non-native, exotic animal, Montoney said.
“There are periodic reports of people seeing non-native (exotic) animals all throughout Ohio,” he wrote in an e-mail. “When verified, these exotic animals usually turn out to be someone’s pet that escaped or was intentionally turned loose due to difficulty of raising a wild animal. But these verified incidents are rare and uncommon.”
Granville police received a report on the sighting the evening of July 13 but did not send out an officer. Granville Police Chief Jim Mason, who wasn’t on duty at the time, said an officer mostly likely would have been sent if the report were timely.
In April 2008, another east-side resident, Char Donelan, reported seeing an unusual animal in her backyard on Longford Drive. The animal she described resembled the one Wingert reported. After viewing a video a neighbor took of the animal, Donelan said she thought it to be a coyote.
Source: Thanks to Chad Arment.