Charlotte County, Florida

Near Port Charlotte

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Charlotte County Florida (Class A) BFRO

January 2001-2002

My family moved to Charlotte County in 2000, bought a house in a quiet area and have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of wildlife in the area. We had moved from Ft. Lauderdale and would frequently exercise, bike ride, walk, run or rollerblade. It was January 2001 or 2002, sunny day, a cold front just went through the area. It was mid-afternoon, about 65 degrees, wind was out of the North, North East. I even remember what I was wearing. My wife and I decided to go Rollerblading that day, and we had a basic route we skated. As we made our way away from our house we got to one of our favorite roads, Koala, and proceeded down to the end at an easy pace. About 2-3 blocks from the intersection of Koala and Collingswood we stopped and saw what I first thought was a very large dog, on all four legs, in the swale about 20 ft. from the intersection. I looked at the animal and I thought I was looking at the profile of a dog, a really BIG dog. Although I did not see a tail or a head I did not give it another thought. I remember saying to my wife, "We should have brought a lead to see if someone lost a dog. I would hate to see it get hit'. As she was agreeing with me, we just started to move towards the animal and all of a sudden its head rose up and stared right at us. The animal was not in the swale in a profile view on all fours, it was on all fours facing us. It had a dark face which did not register with me. The hair was long, reddish-brown. As the animal looked up at us there was about a 2 second delay before it took off at an alarming pace. RIGHT FOR US. Fight or flight sense kicked in. It started running, I looked at it as it gained speed and its hair was flowing in the breeze, there was no standard locomotive process. It seemed to float. The shoulders did not break a plane. We turned around and started to get the heck out of there. We feared that this animal was after us. As I kept checking back at it, thinking I may have to confront it, I saw it move from the swale to the roadway effortlessly. Again it appeared to float up the bank to the road. Once in the road I could see the hair moving in the wind as it chased after us, I could see the front legs moving but the shoulders never broke a visual horizontal plane. It took up a quarter of the roadway, 3-4 feet across, I would estimate 4-5 foot at the shoulder. The animal drifted off into the woods to the north side in to an area that appeared to have been an opening made through the brush. Maybe we were too close to its lair. I don't know. I do not know what it was, I thought perhaps at first it was a dog, then maybe an exotic large cat, or a bear but I ruled them out just due to the unbelievable speed, overall size (huge) and locomotive process this animal executed. It just appeared to float. The whole thing lasted probably 20 seconds. I still get the chills thinking about it and when I go past that area..

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Charlotte County Florida (Class B) BFRO

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