Possible panther sightings put Mantua on alert

MANTUA, Ohio - Authorities in Portage County are warning residents to keep a watchful eye on livestock after several people reported seeing a panther in Mantua.

The Portage County Sheriff's Office said there have been about five sightings of a large black cat near the area of Frost and Diagonal roads. The sheriff's office can not confirm that the animal is a panther because they have not seen any photos of it.

Deputies set up trail cameras in the area, but they have photos of everything except the mystery cat in question. According to the sheriff's office, they believe the animal was a pet that someone released.

The Portage County Sheriff's Office is working with director of outreach for animals.org Tim Harrison.

Harrison said people shouldn't panic if they see a large predator and don't run because it triggers the animal's instinct to chase. If the animal is a pet, it won't be scared of human, but it also won't want to go back into a cage, according to Harrison.

A viewer told NewsChannel5 that calves and a donkey were attacked at a farm at Frost and Diagonal. Sheriff's deputies wouldn't say if that was true, but added that an animal was injured at the intersection and a large black cat was spotted soon after.

Anyone with downed livestock in Mantua and Shalersville should contact law enforcement, deputies said. Harrison said residents should report possible sightings and take a photo, if possible.

This incident comes after Streetsboro police said a black bear was sighted on Cisar Drive on Wednesday. The bear has since made its way to Hudson.

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