Police in Lisbon, Maine, say a dog-like animal leaped out of the woods and attacked a family walking their St. Bernard on a popular trail.
The incident was reported to police around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, about two hours after the family of three showed up with bite wounds at a local hospital.
Lewiston Police Chief Marc Hagan says the family, a man, a woman and an 11-year-old-girl, were walking on the Paper Mill Trail somewhere south of the Big Dipper ice cream shop when a dog or coyote-like creature came out of the woods and bit the young girl on the leg.
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The woman tried to remove the dog which then bit her hand, biting through a finger bone and taking the end of the finger off.
The man then intervened and received minor injuries to his hand before the animal left.
The St. Bernard was not hurt.
"We're either thinking it's a dog or a large coyote," said Hagan who is urging anyone walking on the same trail to be on the lookout for "an animal at large."
The police chief is having officers patrol the area, a popular place for dog-walkers, joggers and pedestrians as much as possible without detracting from other pressing safety concerns.
Danielle Shorey was walking with two young boys along the Paper Mill Trail Monday morning despite hearing the report about the attack.
"I feel like people are still going to come out, it's a nice walking path," she said, adding that she wasn't planning on lingering too long.
"It was just a quick walk, we're not really planning on being out here for a long period of time after hearing the story," she explained.
Lisbon Police say they're particularly interested if the animal may reappear at dusk, since that's when the initial attack happened Saturday. Police went to the trail with a state game warden at that time on Sunday.
So far, there have been no further incidents or sightings, and Hagan is calling the even unusual.
"I've been here two and a half years," he said. "This is the first time something like this has happened."
Police are not sure if the animal that attacked the family was rabid. Their investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information about what happened is asked to give them a call.