In the 1960s Dorothy Johnson reported to me seeing a large black cat on the east side of the Greens Peak area. She reported that her dog had escaped wearing a leash. She was looking for her pet named Lady (a cocker spaniel) worried that the dog would get hung up by the leash and not be able to return to the vehicle. During the search she was confronted with a terrible scream which she immediately identified as a big cat. A few moments later, the dog came running out of the forest towing a large log caught by the leash. The log was much bigger than the dog, but this did not deter the small dog. It was frightened and was running for its life. As the dog sought safety in the arms of her human, Dorothy saw a large black panther stocking the tree line. Dorothy and her dog retreated to the car with no further problems.
As I grew up in Arizona, my relatives in the northern part of the state told me of stories of black panthers ranging along the Mogollon Rim. These were all great campfire stories, and I spent many hours contemplating the possibility of such a creature existing in a very unlikely place. After all, Arizona is mostly desert, and the authorities such as Game and Fish and the Forest Department would only admit to bob cats and mountain lions.
In 1972, a second sighting was reported near Quartzsite west of Phoenix and east of Yuma. It was spotted from the road and was reported to be three to four feet in length. It seemed like it was a young cat that managed to clear the two lane highway in two bounds and disappeared into the desert. Following up on the sighting, the person went to the Phoenix Zoo, and was told the cat was probably a black Sonoran Desert Jaguar.
On Memorial Day of 2008, I was checking out an area reported to have Bigfoot sightings. My group found the local Forest Service Ranger, and he told us to be very careful there had been reports of a black jaguar ranging in the area. Two years later, that same ranger reported to us his wife had seen the black cat near her house. Checking on this the Game and Fish Department now admits that such cats are in Arizona, and they possibly migrated through Mexico from South America. They are also reporting sightings of a smaller cat called the Jaguarundi.