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On Sunday afternoon, a zebra owned by a man in Pickaway County, Ohio, attacked him, resulting in his hospitalization.
The Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office received a report of the incident and dispatched deputies to the fenced field around 5:30pm where the man was severely injured.
Upon the deputies’ arrival, they observed the victim lying on the ground, with his right arm covered up by his sleeve. The dispatch report stated that the victim had been attacked by the zebra and the man’s arm was bitten off.
Fortunately, an official from the sheriff’s department verified to WCMH, a Nexstar affiliate, that the individual was undergoing treatment at Grant Medical Center and would not be losing his arm.
As the deputies were attending to the injured man, the zebra remained agitated and charged at a deputy’s cruiser that had been placed as a barricade between the man and the animal.
The victim was being escorted to an ambulance by his family members, as the zebra persisted in its aggressive behavior and posed a threat.
An insight into the behavior of zebras was provided by a wildlife specialist from the Columbus Zoo.
“They’re definitely wild animals and still have, like, kind of all those wild instincts and behaviors,” The Hill reported, Dan Beetem, Director of Animal Management at The Wilds. “Male zebras are territorial. Their job is to get and hold a group of females that he wants to breed, and he’ll be very protective of those against any kind of challenger.” One account from a PCSO deputy in the incident report was that the “zebra was aggressive due to being protective of about five or six female zebras that were in the field.”
In an attempt to frighten the zebra and drive it away, law enforcement officials used air horns and shouted at it. Despite their efforts, the animal persisted in charging towards the victim’s family and the authorities.
The family cautioned the deputies to avoid turning their backs on the zebra as it was likely to attack at such moments.
They then authorized the deputies to euthanize the zebra if necessary. Eventually, a deputy was forced to shoot the zebra in the head to prevent further aggressive behavior.
“The zebra had already shown aggression. And speaking with some of the family members and friends, apparently, this zebra has been aggressive in the past,” Pickaway County Sheriff Matthew Hafey told WCMH. “I told (the deputy) I fully support what he did. He did what was best to protect the people on the scene there. And I talked to some people on the scene there, and they said that they would have ended up doing the same thing if the deputy had not done that.”
Following the zebra’s euthanization, the man was transported to Grant Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture categorizes zebras as non-“Dangerous Wild Animals.”