LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas family says they had no choice but to open fire when a 35-pound, canine-like animal started snarling and snapping at their family pet.
It was something they had never seen. Their only thought? It must be a Chupacabra.
The creature was spotted near a home on Hunt Road, in a rural area near Pine Tree.
They first saw it fighting with the family dog, but the Valenzuela family could not identify exactly what they were seeing.
"He snapped at Mohammed (the family dog) - almost got him on his back and Mohammed jumped out of the way a foot and a half almost two feet," said Tony Valenzuela. "It stands like a deer, hisses like a cat, howls like a coyote."
"There's this animal there and it's all bowed up and it's hissing - it's howling," described Teri Valenzuela.
"I thought it was a Chupacabra," said Tony. "It was going after my dog. I don't know."
The Valenzuelas, like a lot of other families, have lived on their property a long time and they have seen every kind of wildlife there is, but they have never seen anything quite like it. Snarling, it was hairless and wiry, with long canine teeth, and making noises they had never heard before.
"It sent chills down my spine," said Tony. "It made loud hissing sounds. It's crazy."
"I had no idea," said Teri. "I was speechless."
Tony shot the animal after the animal fought with his dog. "I put four rounds into it and it was still alive, and the fifth shot did it," said Tony. "It's all around unusual. I've never seen anything like it."
Wildlife biologists solved the mystery. It is a coyote with severe mange. "It does distort their features and so therefore it's confusing," explained Charlie Muller, a Gregg County wildlife biologist. "Then, you hear of a mythological Chupacabra and you think that, well, maybe this is one of them."
The trusted family Boxer, Mohammed, keeps watch in case there are any more.
"When I come out at night, I'll definitely think twice from now on," said Teri.
The mystery animal's remains will be tested for rabies. The Valenzuela family dog is in quarantine until test results come back.
Muller says mange in coyotes is very common, and they are often reported as strange or unidentified animals.
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