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Leopard shot and killed in Indiana couple's backyard

By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   June 24, 2013 at 6:50 PM

A woman in Charlestown, Ind., who didn't want to be identified, searched all night for the animal prowling her backyard on Thursday, thinking it was a bobcat that had been threatening neighborhood cats, according to ABC affiliate WDRB. Her boyfriend grabbed his shotgun when she spotted a "dark shadow" near her pool and shot what turned out to be a leopard.

"She was trying to protect her babies," the woman's friend, Donna Duke, told WDRB. "But it was not a bobcat."

Authorities at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources confirmed Friday that the couple had in fact shot a leopard, a large feline not found in North America.

"The cat in these photographs has been identified tentatively as a leopard," a department rep said. "Perhaps an immature cat about 9 months old. DNR is attempting to determine who it belonged to, or where it came from."

The leopard, which wasn't claimed by any local wildlife sanctuaries, could have belonged to someone as a pet. Indiana residents can keep big cats -- with permits.

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