Witnesses say 'big cat' lurking in Hot Spring County

HOT SPRING COUNTY (KATV) -- Arkansas wildlife officers and local deputies continue surveying parts of Hot Spring County for a large animal that isn't native to the area. It's being defined as a large cat by residents in the Lono area of the county. Neighbors and even sheriff deputies have seen the animal, but no one really knows just what it is. "You don't expect to walk outside your back door and see a lion. It terrified me," said witness Lisa Orr. Orr described her state of shock after noticing a large unknown animal lurking in her backyard last week. Sheriff Ed Hollingsworth said Monday wildlife officials continue to try and locate the large cat in an attempt to trap it, but it's been spotted in two parts of the county spread out by several miles. "This one was spotted right over here across this field and cleared those fences like they weren't even there," said Sheriff Hollingsworth. Residents here aren't believed to be in any danger, but in this rural part of Arkansas agriculture is part of daily life, and animals could be in danger. "I've got my animals out here, I've got a horse, goat and a dog. I'm constantly worrying about them," Orr added. From witness's accounts, it's apparent this is no wildcat that could be indigenous to the southern United States. "Twice as high as a bobcat maybe, and twice as long. They're a good size animal," continued Sheriff Hollingsworth. A few years back there were a mountain lions in the area that were eventually killed, according to Hollingsworth. There has yet to be any signs of danger from this unknown animal.