A rancher in Elmendorf, near San Antonio, shot and killed this
still-unidentified animal, sparking debate as to whether it is a
canine, a small deer-like animal or the El Chupacabra of Mexican
Rancher's kill rouses regional legend
By Bud Kennedy
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
As part of the ongoing effort to cover all roaming panther sightings,
lost snake reports and other wild animal news, I'm here to report that
the Texas Devil Dog will be dug up today.
The Devil Dog began haunting Texas TV newscasts last week. A San
Antonio TV station showed photos of a small, fanged, hairless, blue
creature shot and killed in rural Bexar County.
She might be some weird little dog, wildlife experts said. Or a mangy
coyote. Or an exotic deer.
Or -- as the TV report headlined -- "El Chupacabra?"
That one word has brought crowds mobbing the tiny town of Elmendorf.
Behind the counter in DeLeon's Grocery & Market, alongside the Advil
and NoDoz, hang four photos of whatever it was that rancher Devin
Macanally killed two months ago.
Macanally told the TV reporter, jokingly, "Everybody's gonna think
this is a El Chupacabra," the mysterious goat-killing beast of lore.
Some folks didn't take it as a joke.
"More people have come to Elmendorf the last few days than we've ever
had in history," said a tired Nancy DeLeon, answering the phone Monday
after keeping the grocery store open late all weekend for crowds
numbering in the hundreds.
The curiosity-seekers argue whether the blue beast in the photos is a
dead dog, deer or El Chupacabra, she said. They're leaning toward the
"The El Chupacabra is something everybody has heard about from their
family and elders forever," DeLeon said, laughing. "Everybody is
anxious to see if it looks like one.
"It's just been one big party."
The party turns serious today, when researchers from the University of
Iowa are expected to dig up the animal's remains. Macanally had lost
40 chickens to predators when he heard his terrier barking one day in
May. Near some mulberry bushes, he saw a small, bluish-gray animal,
about 20 pounds, with big fangs and no hair except along the ridge of
After he shot the Devil Dog-Deer-Whatever, a neighbor suggested
keeping photos. When a different mystery creature in Maryland turned
up on one of San Antonio's eternally oddball TV newscasts -- that one
turned out to be a mangy fox -- Macanally phoned local stations about
his Devil Dog.
"Now, I'm interested in knowing whether it was a new species or some
animal that was thought to be extinct," he said Monday in a busy day
of phone calls. "I've gotten curious."
A retired English teacher and the son of a Methodist circuit pastor in
the Panhandle, he had been asking friends at church, "So -- did you
see my El Chupacabra?"
Advice: Don't ever kid anyone and tell them that you saw the
El Chupacabra. Particularly not anywhere near a TV news camera in summer.
"The El Chupacabra is our geographical version of Sasquatch, the
Abominable Snowman or the Missing Link," said Dan Lee Vogler, an
Austin wireless network technician and screenwriter/editor.
El Chupacabra witnesses usually describe big red eyes and a long snout
for drinking the blood from goats, he said. The Devil Dog has big eyes
and a long nose.
The El Chupacabra is also sort of a winged Bogeyman. Children who don't
fear their parents are threatened with the El Chupacabra.
DeLeon said: "A lot of parents will tell their kids, 'You better come
inside right now because it's dark and the El Chupacabra is coming!'
"Hey -- anything to get the kids inside."
The crowds coming to Elmendorf include a lot of families with
children, she said.
"The parents point and say, 'See? It's dead! It's not going to hurt
Her mother, Bonnie, said the more common reaction has been, "Look! It
really could be the El Chupacabra!"
At the San Antonio Zoo, collections manager Terry DeRosa said he
believes the creature is a wild dog from a species known mostly in
Mexico. He disagreed with a hunting guide from nearby Floresville who
identified the animal as a muntjac, a species of miniature deer often
kept as an exotic pet.
"That's a very small, timid antelope," he said. The zoo has one in its
Gibbon Forest exhibit. "It wouldn't bother anyone's chickens."
I asked the Fort Worth Zoo's curator of mammals, Ron Surratt.
"To be honest with you, it doesn't look like a dog to me," he said.
Several other species of exotic deer have fangs, he said.
He could not discuss the likelihood of a El Chupacabra.
Nancy DeLeon said anybody who knows the legend should know that this
is no El Chupacabra.
"No way!" she insisted. "This is a little dog with paws.
"Everybody knows the El Chupacabra has hooves!"
Maybe the Devil Dog was shaved by the El Chupacabra.
more information: El Chupacabra El Chupacabra pictures El Chupacabra video