An Ohio farm owner was hospitalized after one of his zebras attacked him and nearly bitten off his hand, officials said.
Deputies from the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office found a 72-year-old victim on the ground when they responded to a call about an animal bite around 5:30 p.m. Sunday in Circleville, about 30 miles south of Columbus.
Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jonathan R. Stroger said that while the owner was burning brush, he turned his back and was attacked by the zebra. He said there were six to seven zebras in the fenced area on the property.
According to the incident report, a responding officer deployed his cruiser in an attempt to block the zebra from the victim, but a “very hostile” large male zebra attacked the driver-side door of the vehicle.
The officer scared the zebra away with the help of the car horn and siren.
The victim was found with bleeding on his right arm below the elbow and was taken away by ambulance.
The incident report states that while deputies were caring for the victim, an officer saw the male zebra approach EMS staff and the victim’s family.
The family authorized the deputy to pin the animal down and after unsuccessful attempts to scare it away by shouting, an officer fatally shot it.
Incident reports indicated that the zebra was likely “aggressive” because it was “protective” of other zebras in the area, all females.
The victim was taken to Grant Hospital in Columbus and is recovering. Officials said that he has undergone several surgeries and will have many more.
“There’s some damage to his hand, but we believe he saved it. So that’s a positive thing because at first he thought the zebra had completely torn it off,” Strausser said.
Strawer said Sunday’s attack was a “freak thing”. He said the owner of the farm had had the zebras for “a considerable amount of time” and that the sheriff’s office had no history of the animals being aggressive.
He said that it was not illegal for a man to own a zebra. The Ohio Department of Agriculture says zebras are not considered a “dangerous wild animal,” which is illegal.