Jennifer Whitfield of Picayune said she spotted the animal while out with her 11-year-old son, Justin, and posted video of it online, WLOX-TV, Biloxi, Miss., reported Thursday.
Whitfield said Justin theorized the animal was a chupacabra, a legendary creature with a name translating to "goat sucker" for the way it was rumored to suck the blood from goats.
"If a zombie had a dog, it would look like that," Whitfield said.
The Denton family, who encountered the animal a few blocks away, said they are similarly at a loss to positively identify the hairless beast.
"I kept looking up 'hairless coyote,' and it kept saying 'chupacabra,'" Amanda Denton said. "We've been running back and forth to our cars because we didn't want the chupacabra to get us."
Jonathon Denton said he spoke with authorities about the beast.
"I didn't know what it was, but then Animal Control couldn't find it, so maybe it was a chupacabra," he said.
However, Master Sgt. David Burnette of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks said the animal appears to be 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," Burnette said.