And then, as if by magic, just when I had finished writing the previous blog, I got an email from a contact from the local news who said “One of our readers e-mailed me these this am. I’ve had a long chat with her and she is convinced they are a big cat’s prints. She heard a big “kerthump” as if it was jumping down. She has fields and woods around her and just three houses up there. Lots of deer in the fields. She is on the Cranmore side of Doulting. I said I would pass the photos on to you to see what you think. Her details are below and she is happy to talk to you. I have sent her copies of the stories we did as she had not seen them.”.
Attached were two photos, one showing the print, and the other showing the stride length. They looked pretty damn canine to me, but for a second opinion (always important) I passed them (again) on to Richard Freeman, who had this to say:
"These are clearly dog tracks. The concave shape of the main pad can be seen in the first photograph. Also, the toes are symmetrical and show the blunt claws of a canid. A cat's claws are finer and only seen in prints when unsheathed for a firmer grip on slippery or uneven surfaces. A cat's main pad has three bulges or lobes akin to the shape of a club in a deck of cards. The toes on a cat are asymmetrical unlike a dogs."
I don’t think I can add anything to that! Never mind, at least the CFZ now has a very good photo of what a dog’s print in the snow looks like!
I did have chat with the person who took the photos, and the fact that she lives next to a field in which a few dogs are walked closes this case. Apart from one thing: “She heard a big “kerthump” as if it was jumping down.”. This does sound a bit odd, until you realise that the prints were in her garden, and to escape the dog would have had to jump over the fence, creating the “kerthump” noise. Case closed.
But, the journalist who sent me this case also mentioned that she is “trying to check out the report from the lady from Cranmore who was saying she heard something big snarling in the bushes near her home last month.”. Now, as you can see, Cranmore is very close to the place where the lady found the dog prints. Naturally, I will keep you updated.