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Farmer Reports Panther Problems

Farmer Reports Panther Problems

A farmer in Iowa claims that a black panther has been prowling around on his property and killing his animals, but not everyone is convinced that he's dealing with a dangerous 'big cat.' Larry Stluka's story began last month when he sounded the alarm about the creature to a local newspaper and lamented that the monstrous beast had killed one of his cows. "I don’t care if people believe it or not," he declared at the time, "I just want to warn everyone. People need to know."

Since then, it seems, things have only gotten stranger for Stluka as he now blames the big cat for the death of a litter of piglets and, sadly, his beloved Boston terrier named Tikki. Chillingly, he also contends that there is more than one panther living in the area. In fact, based on his observations, Stluka believes that there is an adult male and female big cat as well as two kittens. "This female is becoming more and more dangerous," he gravely warned, "because she needs to feed her babies."

Much to his dismay, however, Stluka says that nearly all of his neighbors are nonplussed by the purported panther lurking in their community. Fortunately, a teenager living nearby is not one of those non-believers and actually managed to snap some photographs of the alleged 'big cat' that has inspired such concern in Stluka. However, in a development which no doubt raised the farmer's ire, a large carnivore specialist with the Department of Natural Resources examined the images and determined that Stluka is actually dealing with a house cat.

"I'm pretty convinced that if you stood out in the open area where this animal was pictured, it would only come up to your shins," the expert opined, pointing to a bale of hay in one of the images which allows for some perspective. As to what may have killed the animals, the specialist suggested bears or coyotes could be the culprit. The assessment probably won't sway Stluka, who has formulated something of an odd plan to take down the panther. He hopes to procure "an older horse that can stand for hours" and provide him with a base from which to shoot the creature if and when it dares appear on the farm again in the future.

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