An Ohio farm owner was hospitalized after one of his zebras attacked him and nearly tore off his arm, authorities said.
Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office deputies found a 72-year-old victim on the ground when they responded to an animal bite call about 5:30 p.m. Sunday in Circleville, about 30 miles south. of Columbus.
The owner was burning brush when his back was turned and the zebra attacked him, said Lt. Johnathan R. Strawser of the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office. He noted that there were six to seven zebras in a fenced-in area of the property.
A responding officer positioned his patrol car in an attempt to block the victim’s zebras, but a large, «very hostile» male zebra charged through the driver’s side door of the vehicle, according to the incident report.
The officer scared off the zebras using the car’s horn and sirens.
The victim was found with a hemorrhage in his right arm below the elbow and was taken by ambulance.
While officers were tending to the victim, an officer saw the male zebra approaching EMS personnel and the victim’s family, according to the incident report.
The family authorized officers to euthanize the animal and after unsuccessful attempts to scare it by screaming, an officer fatally shot it.
The incident report stated that the zebra was «aggressive» probably because it was «protecting» the other zebras, all females, in the field.
The victim was transported to Grant Hospital in Columbus and is recovering. Authorities said she has undergone several surgeries and will have several more.
“Some damage to his arm, but we think they saved him. So that’s a positive thing because at first they thought the zebra had completely ripped it off,» Strawser said.
Strawer said Sunday’s attack was «kind of weird.» He noted that the farm owner had the zebras for «quite a while» and that the sheriff’s office had no history of the animals being aggressive.
He pointed out that it was not illegal for the man to own the zebras. He Ohio Department of Agriculture says that zebras are not considered «dangerous wild animals» so it is illegal to own them.