Maine’s Dog-Killing “Hyena”

Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 16th, 2005

Whatever hates dogs in central Maine is back. It kills, it slices dogs’ throats, and it terrorizes the citizenry. Creepiest of all, eyewitnesses say it looks like a hyena!

During the summer of 2004, Lewiston Sun-Journal reporter Mark LaFlamme covered the story of a strange creature that was killing dogs. "It began in mid-August [2004]," wrote LaFlamme, "when a Wales [Maine] man reported that an unknown animal crept out of the woods behind his house and mauled his Doberman pinscher….Since that attack, people from Wales, Litchfield, Sabattus, Greene, Turner, Lewiston and Auburn have come forward to speak of a mystery creature."

During the wave of sightings in 2004, one animal control officer sighted the cryptid along Sawyer Road in Greene, Maine. Although the officer had years of experience with animals, he could not identify it. He told reporter LaFlamme only that it looked like a hyena to him, just as more than a dozen others had described it.

In the most recent incident, it happened again in Greene, a rural town outside of Lewiston, Maine. Reporter Mark LaFlamme recounted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005, in the Lewiston Sun-Journal:

"A dog found with a 10-inch gash across its throat in Greene on Monday may have been attacked by a wild animal, veterinary officials said Tuesday. The collie-shepherd mix was found wounded and bleeding on a porch at Allen Pond and Hooper roads. On Tuesday, the dog was recovering at the Lewiston Veterinary Hospital, but no one had come forward to claim it. And the nature of the animal’s wounds remained a mystery.

"We can’t say for sure that it was a wild animal," said Margaret McCloskey, a co-manager of the animal hospital on Stetson Road. "But something big and bad got at this dog."

In addition to the gash around the animal’s neck, the dog’s left front leg appeared to have been chewed on, McCloskey said. There was no indication that it was a person that caused the wounds.

"We’re pretty convinced that it’s a large-animal wound," McCloskey said.

Reporter LaFlamme interviewed me about this new attack, last night, and at the end of his article today, he open-mindedly included various candidates for the attack, from the mundane – coyote and badger – to the cryptozoological – mystery cat and Bigfoot. Due to the article, one couple has already emailed me details of a mystery cat sighting they had two years ago that took place near the recent dog incident. The case is ongoing, needless to say, and LaFlamme hopes to collect new details on the Greene mystery animal.


See a November 18th update of this story by clicking here.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

20 Responses to “Maine’s Dog-Killing “Hyena””

  1. lenape3 responds:

    This story is one that I’ve been researching since my childhood. Known as the jersey devil, chupacabra and various other names depending upon where you are, this animal is one and the same. After watching an episode on the chupacabra recently, and after seeing pictures of the animals that were found or captured this year in Texas i realize this animal once thought to be extinct is very much alive and thriving apparently. My interest is only that I would like for the public to be made aware of what this animal truly is, not a coyote or wild dog or anything of the sort. If you feel this matter is worthy of your time, please contact me. I’ve spoken with an official from texas from the Texas Parks and wildlife association who felt it was worth his time for he called me back here in N.Y, and I’m awaiting a response from him after he researches this matter with the information I’ve given. I’m also trying to make contact with the guys who run the weird n.j/u.s.a publications and I eagerly await a response from you also. I would just like to finally put a name to this animal, having seen one myself. Have you ever heard of jungle habitat in west milford n.j? This zoo is located where once was my backyard and in 1976 was abandoned along with it’s animal occupants, but some escaped and are now living amongst us in our woods here on the northeast coast.Would you like to know what this animal is? I’m sure alot of people would like to know what this hyena looking animal actually is, and I have the answer. Thank you for your time.

  2. LaFlamme responds:

    I completely expected to hear about further sightings of that mystery creature over the summer. Last night, I could barely keep up. It’s only been recently that I’ve started to hear chatter about this kind of thing. Today, I heard from a woman on Hogan Road in Lewiston where several housecats have disappeared.

  3. dodgyhoodoo responds:

    lenape3: Could you give a description of the critter you saw? I’m sure there will be all sorts of theories about what’s behind this, but a physical description would really help to establish whether what you saw might be, and whether it might be connected.

  4. Kalashnikovnik responds:

    I find this story very interesting since I am from maine (Augusta) and remember reading about the original incident involving the doberman being attacked last year in the Kennebec Journal. I believe the “official” line was that the dog got into it with a fisher. which seems a little unlikely, fishers are vicious critters but I doubt they’d take on a dog the size of a doberman unless cornered or otherwise unable to escape.
    personally my feeling is that a cougar is the most likely culprit. they have been sighted here in maine on several occaisions. either that or coyote or group of coyotes. maine coyotes can wiegh up to 70 pounds and are no pushovers. the injuries inflicted on the doberman as I recall reading them don’t sound like the work of a canine attacker. but it’s possible that attack and the subsequent ones may be unrelated. the similarities between this supposed “hyena-like” animal though, and the fabled “shunka warak’in” (carries off dogs) are not lost on me though. also i’ll add that i find the mention of sabattus in the original article interesting because a couple years ago i had heard from an aquaintence about some weird wolflike creature that supposedly lived in a cave on sabattus mountain. there had been tentative talk about an “expedition” to the area, but there was never any serious planning and we never ended up going. i have since lost touch with the aquaintence too. the term “loup garou” had been thrown around at the time by the aquaintence, although i’m certainly not suggesting the creature, if it even is real, is a werewolf. i will however be following this story closely i think. it’s high time maine had some decent crytozoological happenings

  5. munky responds:

    Though it’s unlikely, as the creature would have to have been somehow, at some time, imported from Australia, there is an animal generally thought to have been hunted to extinction, but that has been sighted many times recently in Australia. This animal is the thylacine, or ‘tasmanian tiger’. The best link for information about this creature, with pictures and video of the last known thylacine living in the Hobart Zoo, is here, and more information can be found here.

    I suppose it’s possible that some were captured a long time ago and imported to the states, to later escape and breed, though it seems farfetched. Still, an interesting idea.

  6. LaFlamme responds:

    Hey, Kalashnikovnik. We’re practically neighbors. And yeah. When I was calling around on the doberman killing creature last year, a lot of the experts suggested it was a fisher. However, every single person who saw the thing completely scoffed at that idea. There was one woman who made a sketch of the beast. She showed it to Wendell Strout, the ACO, and he was convinced it was nothing like a fisher. Unfortunately, Strout threw the sketch away before I could see it. I really hope that critter comes back. I had a lotta fun roaming around the power lines searching for it.

  7. Lesley responds:

    I would go insane if this anything like that happened to my dog. I imagine how those people must feel and I hope they catch (I do not wish it death) whatever it is and stop this.

  8. purrlcat responds:

    For a quick look at a Thylacine, check out the montage at the top of this site’s Homepage. I believe that is a photo of a Thylacine to the left, just above the camera.

  9. BadHabit responds:

    Dogs often receive severe neck wounds when they attack raccoons–raccoons have very loose skin; when dogs grab them by the neck, raccoons are able to turn and rake the attacking dog’s throat with their very sharp claws.

  10. johnh responds:

    About 20 years ago I was driving home from my brothers house @ about 11pm.
    We live in central IL near Princeton.
    While on Searle’s Ridge Rd S.E. of princeton, an animal crossed the road just in front of me. It was, without doubt in my mind, a Hyena. And a rather mangy one at that. I didn’t tell to many people about what I saw that night. The few that I did, other than my family, told me it was a coyote.
    Like I said, I know what it was, I am very well versed in animals of all types, I hunt, I fish I spend alot of my time outdoors in the ‘wild’ That was a hyena I saw that night. I haven’t seen anything like it since.

  11. munky responds:

    Indeed, purricat, that is a thylacine. I hadn’t noticed it before. Thanks.

    One of the most amazing things about these animals, I think, is just how wide their jaws open. It’s almost like they have a flip-top head. The first video on the website shows “Ben”, the thylacine in the Hobart Zoo, yawning. Creepy.

  12. Kalashnikovnik responds:

    A thylacine is certainly capable of killing a dog. as demonstrated in this quote from a thylacine related site i stumbled across sometime back. –
    it’s an old quote hence the use of the term “wolf”

    “A bull-terrier was once set upon a wolf (thylacine) and bailed it up in a niche in some rocks. There the wolf stood, with its back to the wall, turning its head from side to side, checking the terrier as it tried to butt in from alternate and opposite directions. Finally, the dog came in close, and the wolf gave one sharp, fox-like bite, tearing a piece of the dog’s skull clean off, and it fell with the brain protruding, dead.”

    pretty impressive since bull-terriers aren’t known for being especially easy opponents themselves. i doubt maine’s dog-killer is a thylacine for a number of reasons (one being they are not hyena-like at all in appearence) , but they are a really cool animal. i keep hoping the rumors of them surviving in tasmania will be proven true.
    i’d really like to figure out if the whole thing with the creature in sabattus was just BS or if my aqauintence’s story was based on actual occurances in the area (and thus may be connected). unfortunately i have no clue as to how to contact her now.
    were any of the witnesses able to distinguish any markings or coloration on the creature?

  13. Brindle responds:

    I’m from Texas and kept a sharp watch on the ‘chupacabras’ critters that were killed and videoed and they very much look like mangy sick foxes, coyotes or coydogs. They really look like a type of sick canid.

    Hyenas are going to have shoulders higher than their rear quarters and rounder ears set lower on the head, with very powerful jaw muscles for bone crushing. I never did understand why people were saying those poor critters looked like hyenas. The ridge of hair down the back of one may have thrown people off. I’m just talking about the critters that were publicised in Texas, mind you.

    The shunka warak’in picture in Loren Coleman’s book has always facinated me because I always thought in looked a little pig-like. I thought initially it might be an entelodont but I don’t think the teeth (or what you can see of them) are right for a pig-like critter. Mind you, I’m no expert on paleo pig dentition. Too bad the feet are not in the photo as they would settle the question. It definitely has a more hyena-like body profile, but a wild pig (not feral hog) would have a similar profile. The head is very strange.

  14. todfoulk responds:

    maybe its a shuka-wara,is that the right name loren? and didnt that mean dog killer or something similar in yer crytozology a-z book. i have it and shoulda looked it up before i posted. luv this site loren! its keeping me up too late though trying to read everything! 🙂 -tod foulk

  15. Mainehunter responds:

    This is my first post on this site, so here goes:

    I have never heard of these attacks until now, I live about 20 minutes away from Auburn, Maine in New Gloucester, Maine. And I’m glad I found it. I might do a little poking around here also. As to what these eyewitnesses claim to see, I don’t know. Could be a bobcat, could be something else. These attacks could’ve been carried out by a fisher, I hear those things are extremely dangerous (my grandfather had a run in with one while he was deer hunting). The attacks could’ve been carried out by a Coydog (feral dog). But bigfoot? I don’t think there’s a bigfoot anywhere in Central Maine. It’s too devoloped. Probably in the mountains way up north though. A cougar? They’re supposed to be extinct in Maine, I think..

  16. LaFlamme responds:

    Keep me posted, Mainehunter. As most know, I’d rather be writing about strange beasts than most of the other news I cover.

  17. Mainehunter responds:

    Rodger that Laflamme..

  18. LaFlamme responds:

    Nearly a year later, I’ll have an update on Maine’s mystery creature. And this time with photos of a very strange animal that was killed over the weekend. Stay tuned….

  19. ThePackLeader responds:

    I know this might be an old thread, but I just found this story, and I felt the need to reply to a quote posted on here:

    “A bull-terrier was once set upon a wolf (thylacine) and bailed it up in a niche in some rocks. There the wolf stood, with its back to the wall, turning its head from side to side, checking the terrier as it tried to butt in from alternate and opposite directions. Finally, the dog came in close, and the wolf gave one sharp, fox-like bite, tearing a piece of the dog’s skull clean off, and it fell with the brain protruding, dead.”

    Sorry, but there’s no way this Thylacine is ripping a piece of a dog’s skull clean off, let alone a Bull-Terrier’s skull. This Thylacine animal is no larger than a Coyote, and although I would NEVER doubt the ferocity of a cornered animal, the story seems a bit too dramatic for reality. I do believe this animal, as with any wild predator, can do serious damage to a dog, and even kill one, but the fashion in which the story describes it is more out of a horror movie than National Geographic or Animal Planet.

  20. Ingrafx responds:

    Last Summer my wife and I went camping in Lee, Mass. It was about 6pm when we drove onto the approach road to the state campground. Suddenly, my wife shouted “Look out for the deer!” I stopped. Approx. 100 ft. ahead of us, we saw an animal, about the size of deer crossing the road from right to left. It was a mix of gray-brown in color. Its forelegs were at least a foot longer than its rear at the shoulders, giving it a sloped-back appearance. Its head was twice the size of a deer’s and seemed boxy, like a Pit Bull’s. It moved across the road in a trot and was long gone into the woods when we got to the spot where we saw it cross the road. We had heard stories of a “…dog-like…” creature that had been seen in the area but chalked them up to local lore. I wish I had a camera, the forest floor was covered with leaves and pine needles, not great for tracks and the burm of the road was hard gravel. This was not a deer, its head was more like a dog than a deer, the ears were bent back, flush to the side of its head, not erect like those of a deer. Any ckues?

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