UK Cops End Huge Search for 'Large Domestic Cat'
Well, or it could have been a big dog
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2012 9:32 AM CDT
Armed police were last night hunting for a lion believed to be on the loose in Essex, England. Residents were told to stay indoors after the animal was spotted in nearby fields.   (WildTheSmellnice)

(Newser) – Today, in the Bigfoot-esque Department: A reported lion spotting in Essex, England, last night had police pulling out all the stops. Two helicopters equipped with thermal imaging were dispatched, and as many as 25 armed officers set out in search of the creature, reports the BBC. Residents' proof: One claimed to hear a "loud roar." Another out walking with his two kids told the Daily Mail, "It was 1 million percent a lion. It seemed to be enjoying himself."

Someone else snapped a photo, but the director of Colchester Zoo (which has accounted for its lions) says, "The photograph shows an animal in a field, it is a sandy brown color, but the photography is of such poor quality it's not possible for us to say one way or the other what it definitely is." So after finding no prints, fur, or feces, police have called off the search. Police now believe it "was either a large domestic cat or a wildcat," reports the BBC, though wildlife experts tell the Telegraph it could have been a big dog.