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'Beast' called a dog, after a close look

(AP Photo)

TURNER, Maine -- A specialist who examined the remains of a mystery creature believes it was a wild dog, but that hasn't stopped speculation about the beast and whether it was responsible for mauling dogs and frightening residents.

``I think this dead animal is a chow or chow-mix, a relatively small dog, that was feral, which is unusual for that area," Loren Coleman, a Portland author and cryptozoologist told the Sun Journal newspaper after examining the remains Wednesday. He emphasized, 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. Some say it's simply a dog. Others say it's a goat-sheep hybrid. Still others insisted it was a Tasmanian devil, a dingo, a wolf, or coyote. Some of the more outlandish theories involve mutations and extraterrestrials.

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