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Cat killed in southern Missouri identified as leopard

NEOSHO, Mo. _ State biologists say the large black cat killed by a Newton County sheriff's deputy last month has been identified as a leopard.

James Dixon with the Missouri Department of Conservation says they determined the animal's species after sending its hide to the St. Louis Zoo. Some had thought it might be a jaguar.

Sheriff's Corporal Donn Hall shot the animal on May 19th as it charged him. He had answered a call from a woman saying the cat was scratching at her door.

Conservation officials say the leopard was likely a captive animal that had escaped. Owners of big cats in Missouri are required to register their animals but the sheriff's department says no one has reported the leopard missing.

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Information from: The Joplin Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com

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