CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — A man was taken to the hospital Sunday afternoon after a zebra attacked him in Pickaway County.
According to an incident report from the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were sent to the 6900 block of Darby Road in Circleville at around 5:30 p.m. to a fenced-in field after hearing reports a man had his arm dismembered by a zebra he owned.
As deputies arrived, they saw the victim laying on the ground with his right arm covered with his sleeve. An incident report first listed family members telling dispatchers that the zebra had bitten the man’s arm off. However, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office confirmed to NBC4 the man was being treated at Grant Medical Center, and will not lose his arm.
NBC4 has an edited version of deputies’ bodycam footage of the attack below.
While deputies were treating the man, the zebra continued acting aggressively and charged one deputy cruiser that was positioned to block the animal from the man. The man was accompanied by family members while he was being put in an ambulance as the zebra continued acting hostile.
A wildlife expert at the Columbus Zoo shared some insight into the zebra’s behavior.
“They’re definitely wild animals and still have, like, kind of all those wild instincts and behaviors,” said 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.”
Deputies began blowing air horns and yelling at the zebra to scare it away but it continued to charge toward authorities and the victim’s family members. They told the deputies not to turn their backs on the zebra, since that was when it would attack, and gave them permission to put down the zebra if necessary. A deputy then fatally shot the zebra in the head due to its continued 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 NBC4. “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.”
One account from a PCSO deputy in the incident report says the “zebra was aggressive due to being protective of about five or six female zebras that were in the field.”
According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, zebras are not considered “Dangerous Wild Animals.”