A midwestern farmer called emergency services, shouting: “Come before it gets me again!” after he was attacked by his pet zebra at a farm in Circleville, Ohio.
The zebra, which bit Ronald Clifton, 72, on the arm, partially severing it, was the only stallion in a small herd of four or five mares.
“I think he tore my arm off … send a chopper,” Clifton told an emergency dispatcher. Asked if the animal had bitten him, Clifton responded, “Oh hell yes.”
When police arrived to the incident last Sunday, and applied a tourniquet to Clifton’s arm, the zebra began circling “erratically”, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
“One of the zebra actually went up to our deputy, the first one that was on scene, and poked his head towards the driver’s side of his car and his window,” Lt Jonathan Strawser of Pickaway county sheriff’s office told local TV network WSYZ. “The deputy had to hit the air horn to get the zebra to go away.”
But when it charged a police cruiser a sergeant shot the animal in the head with a shotgun.
“I had to make a decision,” Sgt Stacey Eitel could be heard to say in body-camera film released by the Pickaway county sheriff’s office. “I put a slug right between its eyes”.
Sheriffs later said that there was some indication that the zebra was trying to be protective of female zebras in the same field. Clifton’s right arm, which had been injured below the elbow, was later successfully repaired.
He was reported to be in “fair condition” on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Washington Post.
Under Ohio department of agriculture’s 2012 exotic animal law, which requires some animals to be registered, zebras are not considered dangerous or banned.
Those that are include hyenas, gray wolves, lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cougars, bears, elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, Cape buffaloes, African wild dogs, Komodo dragons, alligators, crocodiles, gharials, caimans and any of their hybrids, excluding dwarf caimans.
The law was enacted after Terry Thompson, an Ohio man with a 73-acre farm west of Zanesville, released about 50 exotic animals in 2011 before committing suicide.
The release resulted in a massacre of the animals. Sheriff’s deputies killed 18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, three cougars, two grizzly bears, two wolves and a baboon. One monkey was never found.
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