Chupacabra Report Prompts Fear,
Doubt From Local Residents

By Jessica Rocha
From Virgilio Sanchez-Ocejo
Miami UFO Center

Hilda Casas said she has never believed in the chupacabra, but after hearing of a neighborhood dog's grizzly death reportedly at the hands of the fabled creature, she and her four children aren't taking any chances.
"The way she (the neighbor) talked about the dog, we are afraid," Casas said Tuesday. "We don't know what to think it was.
"I've told (the children) not to go outside."
After the Duran family dog was killed Sunday night on Guadalupe River Street, word around the far north Brownsville neighborhood is that the chupacabra may have been responsible.
Born of Latin American lore, the blood-sucking creature whose name literally means "goat sucker'' is believed by some to roam rural areas preying upon small animals.
City health officials insist the Duran's dog, Panzón, was probably hit by a car and not attacked by the mythical creature.
But the Durans, who live down the street from the Casas, insist Panzón was chained up when he was killed, and won't accept any other explanation.
"He was so skinny when they found him, but Panzón was a very well-fed, well-maintained dog," Bernardo Duran, the dog's owner, said.
Before the alleged attack, "He was fat, with a big belly - that's why we called him Panzón."
Duran said there was a puncture in the middle of the dog's spine, with yellow liquid coming out. "Está weird," he added.
It may be strange, but chupacabra reports have surfaced throughout the United States and Latin America for years. The Brownsville Herald last reported a local chupacabra sighting in 1996, according to newspaper archives.
Brownsville Public Health Director Josue Ramirez and animal control employees continue to believe the dog was most likely hit by a car, citing burns on the dog's back, fractured bones, scrapes and bloating.
Duran requested animal control perform an autopsy on his pet to determine the cause of death, but Ramirez refused, saying the city only conducts autopsies when an animal has injured a person to determine whether the animal was rabid.
The Durans were told they could pay to have the family veterinarian look at the animal, but Duran's son, Luis, said the family could not pay the $300 fee. The pet was picked up from the Duran's home Monday and delivered to the animal shelter to be disposed of, Ramirez said.
Reports of the dog's death have prompted a string of calls into Brownsville Department of Public Health insisting their animals, too, had suffered the fatal consequences of run-ins with a chupacabra.
But nobody is willing to come forward to offer any proof, just more tales, he said.
"As far as we know, we have no evidence that such an animal (chupacabra) exists," Ramirez said.
All callers declined to leave their names or do anything more than report the chupacabra, he said, adding that callers were invited to pick up traps to try to catch them, but nobody accepted the offer.
Health department officials aren't the only ones who dispute the Duran's claim.
Construction worker Leonel Peña mentioned a different animal could be responsible for Panzón's death - the tlacuache.
The Rio Hondo resident jokingly suggested the nuisance marsupial commonly known in English as the opossum was to blame.
"Out here there are nothing but tlacuaches," Peña said. "Chupacabras don't exist."
Virgilio Sanchez-Ocejo Miami UFO Center


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