TURNER, Maine — Residents are wondering if an animal found dead over the weekend may be the mysterious creature that has mauled dogs, frightened residents and been the subject of local legend for half a generation.
The animal was found near power lines along Route 4 on Saturday, apparently struck by a car while chasing a cat. The carcass was photographed and inspected by several people who live in the area, but nobody is sure exactly what it is.
Michelle O'Donnell of Turner spotted the animal near her yard about a week before it was killed. She called it a "hybrid mutant of something."
"It was evil, evil-looking. And it had a horrible stench I will never forget," she told the Sun Journal of Lewiston. "We locked eyes for a few seconds and then it took off. I've lived in Maine my whole life and I've never seen anything like it."
For the past 15 years, residents across Androscoggin County have reported seeing and hearing a mysterious animal with chilling monstrous cries and eyes that glow in the night. The animal has been blamed for attacking and killing a Doberman pinscher and a Rottweiler the past couple of years.
People from Litchfield, Sabattus, Greene, Turner, Lewiston and Auburn have come forward to speak of a mystery monster that roams the woods. Nobody knows for sure what it is, and theories have ranged from a hyena or dingo to a fisher or coydog, an offspring of a coyote and a wild dog.
Now, people are asking if the mystery beast and the animal killed over the weekend are one and the same.
Vultures devour flesh
Wildlife officials and animal control officers declined to go to Turner to examine the remains. By Tuesday, the carcass had been picked clean by vultures and there was not much left of the dead animal.
Loren Coleman, a Portland author and cryptozoologist, said it's unlikely that the animal was anybody's pet.
After reviewing photos of the carcass, Coleman said he was bothered by the animal's ears and snout. It reminded him of a case years ago in northern Maine in which an animal shot by a hunter could not be identified. In the end, wildlife officials got a DNA analysis that showed the animal was a rare wolf-dog hybrid, he said.
Mike O'Donnell, who is married to Michelle O'Donnell, said the animal looked "half-rodent, half-dog" to him.
It was charcoal gray, weighed between 40 and 50 pounds and had a bushy tail, a short snout, short ears and curled fangs hanging over its lips, he said. It looked like "something out of a Stephen King story."
"This is something I've never seen before. It's an evil-looking thing," he said.
© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.