RICHMOND, Mo. — The Ray County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public about two recent attacks on cattle.
One he attributes to an out of control dog. The other he suspects, in his words, a big cat.
Mike Tarwater’s family has lived on some sprawling property north of Richmond for nearly 40 years.
“This is about 250 yards away,” Tarwater said, pointing to a picture of a feline, taken by his father.
Tarwater said it’s the long tail that indicates to him that this is a mountain lion.
It’s stories like these being re-shared following a graphic post from the Ray County Sheriff. The amount of blurring FOX4 had to do to the cow’s face should indicate to viewers how bad it looks uncensored. Describing the injury is like describing a plate of spaghetti.
Ray County Sheriff Scott Childers wrote on Facebook this weekend: “This in no way is to scare anyone but to share the information to keep our community informed. Big cats have been here since I grew up in Knoxville. I have had numerous sightings but never had any contact with them.”
Tarwater said, over the years, the missing bodies of young calves have been found in trees. He has also lost 13 turkeys to something.
“Each one, they’d be gone. You’d only find five feathers maybe. Each one,” Tarwater said.
Tarwater said it has to be something big.
“A bobcat would even leave feathers. A coyote would leave feathers,” Tarwater said.
But the Missouri Department of Conservation disagrees with this initial assessment of people on the ground saying that based on their investigation a dog, or possibly multiple dogs, caused the most recent attack.
This is the common back-and-forth between the state agency and people like Tarwater, a man claiming 200 hours a year in the woods, experiencing and hearing stories of feeling watched.
“The woods got real calm, quiet, shut-up. I could just see the cat’s tail, and he was gone about 3 minutes. Boom — the woods woke back up. The birds were chirping and everything,” Tarwater said, recalling one story.
The Missouri Department of Conservation said young male mountain lions occasionally come through this areas, traveling in from the west. But again, their position is that no recent animal attacks have officially been attributed to big cats.