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Georgetown man shoots creature: Chupacabra or hairless bear?

6:31 PM, Jan 19, 2011   |    comments
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Video: FLIP CAM: A closer look at the animal shot by Georgetown man

Claws of the animal shot by Frank Gallo

SLIDESHOW: Some images of the animal may contain graphic content

GEORGETOWN, CA - To handyman Frank Gallo, the creature that almost attacked him beside his rural trailer several days ago looked like the legendary Chupacabra.

"Scared the hell out of me," Gallo said. "It crouched and faced me and I shot two warning shots at it - 357-magnum, from 20-feet."

The shots seemed to have no effect and Gallo kept firing during the encounter.

"He looked down at where he'd been shot and let out a cry that sounded like, maybe a six year old girl. Ahhhhhh, really loud," Gallo said.

When Gallo saw the animal up close, it was even stranger.

"If you could feel this thing, if you could touch it, it's skin is like an elephant," Gallo said. 

The animal had huge claws, canine-like teeth and almost no fur on its body. However, it was the animal's lack of fur that tipped off California Department of Fish and Game Warden Patrick Foy.

"(It's) probably a juvenile bear and has developed some type of an ailment that's caused it's skin to shed all of it's fur," Foy said.

To Gallo, it looked more like, the supposedly, mythical creature known in Mexico as a Chupacabra.

Gallo scoured the Internet, looking for images and information on the Chupacabra.

"Something like this (animal) will hit an animal, knock it down, grab it and suck the blood out of it. That's where the name Chupacabra comes from, it's Spanish for goat-sucker,"Gallo said. 

"Could be a fairly new species, you know. Could be a mutation," Gallo said.

However the pictures told Foy it was more likely a  bear. Late Tuesday evening, a game warden picked up the animal and confirmed Foy's suspicions that it was a young bear.

It may take several days to determine what caused the bear to lose it's fur.

"Somebody with an untrained eye would look at this and think that this was a pretty creepy-looking character," Foy acknowledged.

Gallo is not convinced.

"Doesn't move anything like a bear, didn't act like a bear. Doesn't make sounds like a bear," Gallo said. "There are skeptics and there are people that are open-minded."

New10/KXTV

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