The creature thought to be a real-life chupacabra captured alive in Texas has been euthanized by the couple keeping it at the suggestion of authorities. Biologists think it probably was a mangy raccoon, or perhaps a dog, coyote, jackal, even a fox.
The New York Daily News reports
that Jackie Stock and Arlen Parma of Ratliff had been feeding their black, hairless pet "Chupie" water and cat food and keeping it in a cage near their house when the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department suggested they put it down. Josh Havens, the department's spokesperson, said it was illegal to possess a live wild animal such as the one they were keeping.
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The couple was instructed to either release the animal, or put it down. Because it was suffering, they chose the latter.
"It went to sleep very peacefully," Stock told TMZ after taking it to a nearby animal shelter
for the euthanizing. "I had gotten attached. I was calling him Chupie. He will be missed."
Experts like Brent Ortego, a wildlife diversity biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, speculated that the creature was a raccoon with an extreme case of mange, which causes animals to lose some or all of their fur. If not a raccoon, it was most likely canine he said, leaving the possibility open that it could have been a dog, coyote, jackal, or even a fox.
Parma remained skeptical, however, citing the creature's growls.
"A coon don't make that noise, or a possum. What makes that noise? I guess a chupacabra does, I don't know," he said.
Stephanie Bell of animal-rights group PETA said she had called the state department from the group's Cruelty Investigations Department, and was vying for its release. She said the department was the most likely to have the resources to help the animal, then release it.
Either way, it is now free from what Bell described as "cruel confinement which was surely stressful to the animal and making (it) more vulnerable."
It is not clear whether a necropsy or biopsy will be performed to determine what kind of animal it was, and whether it was stricken by disease of any kind.
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