Tampa -- The discovery of a dead goat in a yard full of big dogs is not normally the stuff of which mysteries are made.
But if you add in the fact that the goat had suspicious puncture marks in the neck, and that there was nary a drop of blood, and that the goat had been lifelong friends with the dogs, then it becomes more difficult to ignore a more sinister conclusion: This is the work of the chupacabras. Literally translated: the goatsucker.
And it may well have struck in Tampa.
In recent years, this vampire-like predator -- described as having fangs, red eyes and spiked back -- has been widely reported in Puerto Rico. Legend has it that it prowls the central mountains, gruesomely dispatching goats in a way that no earthly animal could possibly accomplish.
Then, last month, 69 goats, chickens, geese and ducks were found slaughtered in a yard in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood of south Miami.
Now, add Millie the white goat to the roll call of the dead.
One Sunday two months ago, weeks before the Miami massacre, an employees of Select Seafood in Drew Park arrived at work to find one of the company's two goats dead.
The watchdogs -- Spike and Bear -- became obvious suspects. Dogs are the leading suspects among skeptics in Miami.
But Danny Rivera, the assistant plant manager of Select and native of Puerto Rico, had another explanation, one that drew on the folklore of his youth.
"They thought I was crazy when I started talking about it," River, 25, said.
"But the Haitians (workers) agreed," said John Gasser, owner of Select Seafood.
The man who found the goat "doesn't believe in the chupacabras," Gasser said. "But he couldn't explain the lack of blood."
Original file name: CNI - Chupa in Tampa? 3.25f
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