Chupacabra report prompts fear, doubt from local residents - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Chupacabra report prompts fear, doubt from local residents

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Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2002 12:00 am

By Jessica Rocha

The Brownsville Herald

Hilda Casas said she has never believed in the chupacabra, but after hearing

of a neighborhood dogs grizzly death reportedly at the hands of the fabled

creature, she and her four children arent taking any chances.

The way she (the neighbor) talked about the dog, we are afraid, Casas said

Tuesday. We dont know what to think it was.

Ive 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 Durans dog, Panzn, 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 Panzn was

chained up when he was killed, and wont accept any other explanation.

He was so skinny when they found him, but Panzn was a very well-fed,

well-maintained dog, Bernardo Duran, the dogs owner, said.

Before the alleged at-tack, He was fat, with a big belly thats why we

called him Panzn.

Duran said there was a puncture in the middle of the dogs spine, with yellow

liquid coming out. Est 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

dogs 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 Durans son, Luis, said the family could not pay the $300 fee.

The pet was picked up from the Durans home Monday and delivered to the animal

shelter to be disposed of, Ramirez said.

Reports of the dogs 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 arent the only ones who dispute the Durans

claim.

Construction worker Leonel Pea mentioned a different animal could be

responsible for Panzns 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, Pea said. Chupacabras dont

exist.

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