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Expert: 'Hybrid' Creature Is Just a Dog

AP | August 18 2006

An expert who examined the remains of a mystery creature believes it was a wild dog. But that hasn't stopped runaway speculation about the beast and whether it was responsible for mauling dogs and frightening residents.
Loren Coleman, a Portland author and cryptozoologist, said he didn't know for sure what the animal was based on his examination of its remains Wednesday.

"I think this dead animal is a chow or chow-mix, a relatively small dog, that was feral, which is unusual for that area," he told the Sun Journal newspaper. He noted, however, that his was only an educated guess based on the findings so far.

State wildlife biologists and local animal control officers declined to go to Turner to examine the remains of the animal, which was found Saturday along Route 4. It was apparently hit by a car while chasing a cat.

Without any official findings, the creature obtained near-mythical status as word spread in the media and on the Internet.

Some say it's simply a dog. Others say it's a goat-sheep hybrid. Still others weighed in that the creature may have been a Tasmanian devil, a dingo, a wolf or coyote. Some of the more outlandish theories involve mutations and extraterrestrials.

People from Litchfield, Sabattus, Greene, Turner, Lewiston and Auburn have come forward to speak of a mystery monster that roams the woods.

"It's crazy. Everybody's talking about it. We sold out of newspapers by 9 this morning," said Debi Bodwell, who was at work at Schrep's Corner Store in Turner. "Everybody is mad because the game wardens haven't come out to take a look at it."

By the time Coleman arrived on Wednesday there wasn't much left. The internal organs and skull were gone. All that was left were some bones and skin.

Nonetheless, he came away with a paw and other body parts to be examined later. Another paw was taken by the Sun Journal, which was exploring the possibility of conducting DNA tests.

One person who remains convinced that the creature was no dog was the woman whose photos were carried in the Sun Journal and in news organizations across the country. Michelle O'Donnell doesn't know what it is, but she's convinced it wasn't a dog.

Nonetheless, she's surprised by the interest in the creature.

"I didn't know the story would be this big," she said. "My phone has been ringing off the hook."

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