Police in Ohio recently faced down an aggressive zebra after it mauled its 72-year-old owner.
“You got attacked by a what?” the dispatcher asked in surprise when Ronald Clifton called 9-1-1 for help. But although the situation was an unusual one, the incident was deadly serious. According to the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, when deputies arrived at the rural property in Circleville, they found Clifton on the ground amid his herd of zebras, hemorrhaging a significant amount of blood below the right elbow due to a severe bite wound.
According to the police report, Deputy Oberley placed his car between Clifton and the herd to create space and treat Clifton, but one zebra continued to behave aggressively.
“A large male zebra charged my driver side door and was acting very hostile,” the police report said.
“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,” Lieutenant Jonathan Strawser told WSYX News. “The deputy had to hit the air horn to get the zebra to go away.”
After scaring the zebra away using their cruiser’s air horns and sirens, deputies applied a tourniquet to Clifton’s arm to stop the bleeding, helped him to his feet and escorted him to an ambulance, where he was treated by EMS personnel. But deputies soon observed the same aggressive zebra approaching the place where Clifton’s family and medics were standing. The deputies used a stick to keep the animal at bay, but the family authorized them to shoot the zebra if it came too close.
Unfortunately, they ended up having to kill the animal. Per the report, a sergeant yelled at the zebra three times as it approached her and then fired her shotgun at its head.
“I had to make a decision,” she said. “I put a slug right between its eyes.”
The officer later explained that the zebra was acting “protective of about five or six female zebras that were in the field at this location upon our arrival.”
Clifton was transported to a hospital in Columbus and was reported to be in stable condition. His family reported that he will not lose his arm.
The other zebras, which are legal to own in Ohio according to the Department of Agriculture, will remain at the property.