PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - An unwanted visitor has made himself at home in the quiet town of Picayune.
"If a zombie had a dog, it would look like that," said Jennifer Whitfield.
She and her 11-year-old son, Justin, spotted the mysterious creature on a lot near their home. They weren't sure what to think, but Justin believed it could be a chupacabra.
They captured video of the animal and posted it online. That's when they discovered they weren't the only ones to spot the animal. A few streets over, the Dentons were already on the case.
"I kept looking up 'hairless coyote,' and it kept saying 'chupacabra,'" said Amanda Denton. "We've been running back and forth to our cars because we didn't want the chupacabra to get us."
Her husband, Jonathan, was at a loss as well. "I didn't know what it was, but then Animal Control couldn't find it, so maybe it was a chupacabra," he said.
Right up the road, the Cooper family presented another possibility.
"My dad said that it was a 'squatchdog' because he's obsessed with watching 'Finding Bigfoot'," said 17-year-old Caroline Cooper.
Despite their squatchdog theory, the Coopers wanted an expert opinion, so they called the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Master Sergeant David Burnette said the creature was a coyote with mange.
"It's probably sick, weak, and not able to hunt on its own, so it's going to the nearest food source it can find," said Sgt. Burnette.
He said the coyote was sticking around for the garbage and pet food keeping it alive, but that it should not be considered a threat to the community as long as they keep a distance.
The legend of "El Chupacabra" dates back to the 1970s. The term literally translates to "goat-sucker," because the creature is believed to have sucked the blood of goats.
To date, no actual chupacabra has ever been caught, and apparently the myth will not be debunked in Picayune.