Body camera video captured the moment Tennessee police tasered a zebra after it escaped from a wildlife auction and led them on a three-hour chase.
The bizarre chase began around 4 a.m. on May 7 when police in Cookeville, about 80 miles east of Nashville, began receiving calls about the zebra wandering through a residential area before dawn.
Officers spent the next few hours tracking the animal through streets and backyards. It even reached Highway 111, a major thoroughfare that was free of traffic only because of the time of day.
Finally, the frustrated officers came up with a controversial solution to arrest it.
“This is going to be ridiculous,” an officer is heard to say in bodycam footage obtained by WBIR. “Can we just taste it and be done with it?”
The officers deploy their tasers twice, but the zebra appears unfazed and continues to run out of their reach.
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Body camera video captured the moment Tennessee police tasered a zebra after it escaped a wildlife auction and led them on a three-hour chase
The bizarre chase began around 4 a.m. on May 7 when police in Cookeville received calls about the zebra wandering through a residential area before dawn.
It was unclear whether the tasers had actually made contact with the zebra, but police said they had made “failed attempts” to attack him.
“I know we were practicing for chases, but I didn’t think of chasing a zebra,” one cop says in disbelief.
Another officer then grabs a rope and tries several times in vain to lasso the zebra.
“I’ve tied up a few horses in my time,” said the officer.
Daylight arrives before the officers finally manage to corner and capture the zebra.
Officers and onlookers cheered as it was led into a red transport trailer around 7:15 a.m.
Cookeville police confirmed that neither the officers nor the animal were injured during the ordeal.
It was later revealed that the zebra had escaped from the Triple W Alternative Livestock Auction.
Triple W owner Scotty Wilson clarifies: News channel 5 that the zebra was never in his company’s custody and belonged to someone parked at his company.
It remains unclear who owned the zebra and how it escaped.
Triple W holds four exotic animal sales each year, with customers coming from 25 states to bid on everything from monkeys to peacocks and birds to bison.
Wilson suggested that the zebra eventually went up for sale at the last auction, saying, “I’m glad they caught it.”
Officers spent the next hours tracking the zebra through backyards and alleys
Officers deployed their tasers twice at the zebra, but it seemed unfazed and kept running away
Daylight arrived before officers could finally corner the zebra and load it into a van that would transport it back to its owner.
Several Cookeville residents had contacted police after seeing the roaming wild grazer.
Officials at Prescott South Middle School sent a warning to parents after the animal was spotted near campus.
“There is a zebra loose in the Prescott area,” the alarm warned at 4:18 a.m. “He escaped from a truck, was tasered and is mad. Don’t come any closer. (Yes really.)’
Teacher Ashley Danielle Francis snapped a few photos of it on her commute.
“It’s just the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in this little town, the small town of Cookeville, Tennessee,” Francis said. WSMV. “There’s just a zebra on the highway.
Teacher Ashley Danielle Francis took this photo of the zebra on his way to Prescott South Middle School after escaping the Triple W Alternative Livestock Auction facility
“It didn’t seem crazy, it just seems scared,” Francis said of the zebra. ‘It was a little one too, it wasn’t a full grown zebra because I’ve seen them in the zoo before.
“I just felt really sorry for it, but luckily I heard it was captured and returned and that everything was safe and no one was hurt.”
This isn’t the first time a wild zebra in Tennessee has caused fear. Two years ago, a man was reportedly bitten by one in Blount County.
And in 2013, a zebra named “Zeke” roamed free in Cleveland, Tennessee, for five months before being captured.
Under Tennessee law, zebras are in the same category as horses, which allows them to be privately owned by residents.
However, what sets horses apart from zebras is that zebras have a kick that can break a lion’s jaw, are aggressive biters and have a unique diving reflex that can help them avoid being lassoed, according to Sciencealert.com.
Similar laws are in place in most states. In 2014, the International Zebra-Zorse-Zonkey Association (IZZA) estimated that 3,000 zebras lived in American backyards.
However, the actual number of privately owned zebras across the country is unknown because many states do not require registration.