Chupacabra found ... on a T-shirt

Sonny Long

Oct. 31, 2008 at 5:31 a.m.

CUERO - The chupacabra lives … sort of. The mystery animal recently killed in DeWitt County is now immortalized on a T-shirt that is flying off the shelves at Phylis Canion's Cuero store. Canion discovered the corpse on her property last month and sent a tissue sample off for DNA testing to determine exactly what the animal is.

Her brother-in-law, David Boyd of Goliad, convinced her she should do a T-shirt. "At first I said, 'No way,'" Canion said. "Then I was just going to do them for the family. Well, our staff wore them in the store Monday and everyone who came in wanted one."

Canion received 75 shirts on Friday and has already had to reorder.

"We think the shirt turned out great. It has been so popular, and most people don't even know we have them yet," she said.

"The kids love it," Canion said. "One little boy was in the store, and he had been trying to explain to his mother about the animal. He wanted to see the pictures and took a real interest in it. I called his mom later and told her I had a T-shirt for him. You would have thought he had been given a million bucks. He was excited, to say the least."

She also tells the story of a sick boy in a San Antonio hospital who has shown improvement since he saw the chupacabra story on the television news.

"From what I have been told the doctors are amazed at how he has changed since seeing the story. He is taking an interest in researching all he can about it," Canion said. "I plan to take him a T-shirt and tell him my story." And she's been telling the story a lot.

"The interest in it has been amazing," said Canion, who has appeared on radio talk shows from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Chicago, Albuquerque and El Paso.

"Jimmy Kimmel even talked about it in his monologue, saying I had saved it to make 'chalupacabras.' That was funny," Canion said.

"I don't understand it. The interest has been phenomenal. Obviously the chupacabra is mythical, but this is something weird. People are amazed I had the presence of mind to save it. They don't understand I am a hunter. When I see something this strange, I am going to try and find out what it is. Had it not been killing my animals, I probably wouldn't have worried about it."

Canion said she expects to hear back any day from Texas State University, where she sent the sample for testing on July 24.

"They said about two weeks," she said. "In the meantime, I have been contacted by the University of California at Davis, and they offered to test it also to confirm the first test. All I want to do is find out what this animal is." Sonny Long is a reporter for the Advocate. Contact him at 361-275-6319 or, or comment on this story at



Powered By AffectDigitalMedia