Body-camera video captured the moment Tennessee cops tasered a zebra after it escaped from a wild animal auction and led them on a three-hour chase.
The bizarre pursuit was launched at around 4am on May 7 when police in Cookeville, about 80 miles east of Nashville, began receiving calls about the zebra roaming through a residential neighborhood before sunrise.
Officers spent the next several hours tracking the animal down streets and through backyards. It even made its way onto Highway 111, a major artery that was only void of traffic because of the time of day.
Eventually, the frustrated officers came up with a controversial solution to apprehend it.
‘This is getting ridiculous,’ one officer is heard saying in body-cam footage obtained by WBIR. ‘Can we just tase it and be done with it?’
The officers proceed to deploy their tasers twice – but the zebra appears unfazed and continues running out of their reach.
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Body-camera video captured the moment Tennessee cops tasered a zebra after it escaped from a wild animal auction and led them on a three-hour chase
The bizarre pursuit was launched at around 4am on May 7 when police in Cookeville began receiving calls about the zebra roaming through a residential neighborhood before sunrise
It was unclear whether the tasers actually made contact with the zebra, with police merely saying they made ‘unsuccessful attempts’ to strike it.
‘I know we were practicing for pursuits, but I didn’t think of pursuing a zebra,’ one officer says in disbelief.
Another officer then grabs a rope and tries unsuccessfully to lasso the zebra multiple times.
‘I roped a couple horses in my day,’ that officer says.
Daylight arrives before the officers finally manage to corner the zebra and capture it.
Officers and onlookers cheered as it was led into a red transport trailer at around 7.15am.
The Cookeville Police Department confirmed neither the officers nor the animal was injured in the ordeal.
It was later revealed that the zebra had escaped from the Triple W Alternative Livestock Auction.
Triple W owner Scotty Wilson clarified to News Channel 5 that the zebra was never in his company’s custody and belonged to someone who was parked at its facility.
It remains unclear who owned the zebra or how it managed to escape.
Triple W holds four exotic animal sales each year with customers coming in from 25 states to place bids on everything from monkeys to peacocks to birds to bison.
Wilson suggested that the zebra did eventually go up for sale at the latest auction, saying: ‘I’m glad they got him caught.’
Officers spent the next several hours tracking the zebra through backyards and alleys
Officers ended up deploying their tasers at the zebra twice but it appeared unfazed and continued running away
Daylight arrived before the officers finally manage to corner the zebra a load it into a van that transported it back to its owner
Several Cookeville residents had contacted police after spotting the wild grazer on the loose.
Officials at Prescott South Middle School sent an alert to parents after the animal was spotted near campus.
‘There is a zebra on the loose in the Prescott area,’ the alert warned at 4.18am. ‘It escaped a truck, was tased, and is mad. Do not approach. (Yes, really.)’
Teacher Ashley Danielle Francis captured a couple photos of it on her morning commute.
‘It’s just the craziest thing I ever think I’ve ever seen in this town small town Cookeville, Tennessee,’ Francis told WSMV. ‘There’s just a zebra on the highway.
Teacher Ashley Danielle Francis snapped this photo of the zebra on her way to Prescott South Middle School after it escaped from the Triple W Alternative Livestock Auction facility
‘It didn’t seem mad, it just seems scared,’ Francis said of the zebra. ‘It was a little one too, it wasn’t a full-grown zebra because I have seen them at the zoo before.
‘I just felt really sorry for it but luckily I’ve heard that it was captured and returned and everything was safe and nobody got hurt.’
This isn’t the first time a wild zebra has caused a scare in Tennessee. Two years ago, a man was reportedly bit by one in Blount County.
And in 2013, a zebra named ‘Zeke’ ran free for five months in Cleveland, Tennessee, before being captured.
Under Tennessee law, zebras are classified in the same category as horses, allowing them to be privately-owned by residents.
What separates horses from zebras, however, is that zebras have a kick that could break a lion’s jaw, are aggressive biters and have a unique ducking reflex that allows them to avoid being captured by lasso, according to Sciencealert.com.
Similar laws are in place in most states. In 2014 the International Zebra-Zorse-Zonkey Association (IZZZA) estimated that 3,000 zebras were living in American backyards.
However, the true number of privately-owned zebras nationwide is unknown because many states do not require registration.