WASHINGTON – A US man remained hospitalised after he was attacked and severely injured by his own aggressive zebra, which was shot dead by police, officers in the state of Ohio said.
Initial reports from the sheriff’s office in Pickaway County, Ohio say the arm of 72-year-old Ronald Clifton was dismembered and that one officer rushed to apply a tourniquet as other police responders fended off the hoofed African animal.
Police Deputy Michael Oberley reported that as he arrived on the scene of Sunday’s incident, “a large male zebra charged my driver-side door and was acting very hostile.”
Clifton “appeared to have a haemorrhage on his right arm just below the elbow” the officer said.
While Oberley was attending to the victim, the zebra returned and was threatening the Clifton family and other police.
Video footage from an officer’s body camera showed a man chasing the zebra with a stick. After that failed and another officer tried in vain to scare the animal away, the officer shot the zebra in the head.
The exact injury to Clifton was unclear. While one deputy, Nathan Welch, wrote in his report that the victim’s arm had been “bit off by the zebra,” a police spokesperson told AFP they believe the arm was broken.
An Ohio healthcare spokeswoman said Clifton “is in fair condition” at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center.
Clifton’s family are the apparent owners of the animal on their property in Circleville, south of the Ohio capital Columbus. Police said the zebra may have been seeking to protect the five or six female zebras that were seen in the property’s field during the incident.
Zebras are not classified as dangerous wild animals under Ohio law and are legal to own in the state, a local NBC affiliate reported.