BOLIVIA, N.C. (AP)—An unknown predator mauled a pit bull and killed two puppies in Brunswick County, and residents fear it's the same animal that killed three dogs in September. No one has reported ever seeing the animal.

The county's animal control agency investigated the animal's tracks, droppings and other clues but couldn't determine what attacked the dogs. Locals call the unknown animal the Beast of Bolivia.

Some residents and experts said the predator may be a bear, a wayward panther or cougar, or even a wolf because 3-inch paw tracks were found at the scene.

Many suggest the predator came from the nearby Faircloth Zoo, which had a lion and a tiger before it closed more than a year ago. Animal control officials said the animals were sent elsewhere.