Usually a laid back dog, Ian said he had never seen Bear react in that way before.
“He was walking in front of me and suddenly his head went up and he picked up a scent,” said Ian.
“I’ve never seen him go like that before. He has been desensitised to animals because he is training to become a search and rescue dog.
“He started doing this deep bark like I’ve never heard before, so hard it was forcing him backwards and he was up on his toes.
“He was focused on a point right across the field, about 70 yards away, but it was too dark for me to see what was there.”
The encounter started at around 10pm and lasted for no more than 10 minutes, Ian added.
It was only when he got home and heard about a story in the Herald about livestock being mutilated on the Angmering Park Estate – and warnings of a ‘predatory animal’ on the loose – that he realised what he may have come into contact with.
“There was something out there that he has no experience of – he was frightened and not happy at all,” Ian said.
“He’s usually so laid back, but there was definitely something out there. Something out of the ordinary.”
A safety warning appeared on the Angmering Park Estate in Patching last weekend following mutilations of livestock and deer.
The sign said: “There has been reports of mutilated livestock and deer in the area. As a precaution, please keep to open ground and have your dogs on a lead.
“Please report any sightings of anything unusual there may [be] a large cat or predatory animal in the area.”
Roundstone Farm is several miles from the estate, which is north of the A27, but that would not necessarily stop a roving animal.
Ian speculated that, if anything, the creature could be a type of wildcat sometimes found in the UK that is significantly larger than usual domestic animals.