Police in Tennessee Chase Zebra For Three Hours: 'This is Getting Ridiculous'

A zebra led police on an hours-long chase when the beast escaped from an exotic animal auction in Tennessee, body camera footage has shown.

Officers were called to West Cemetery Road near Bunker Hill Road just after 4 a.m. on May 7 to reports a zebra had escaped from a nearby livestock auction.

Employees from the Triple W Livestock Auction were already on the scene attempting to capture the animal when officers from the Cookeville Police Department and deputies from the Putnam County Sheriff's Office arrived.

At one point, the zebra ran onto nearby Highway 111 as officers made unsuccessful attempts to stun the frightened animal, the Cookeville Police Department said in a statement.

Police body camera footage obtained by WTHR shows officers chasing the zebra through the suburban backyards and driveways of Cookeville.

"This is getting ridiculous," one officer can be heard saying. "Can we just tase it and be done with it?"

"I know we were practicing for pursuits, but I didn't think of pursuing a zebra," another officer added.

In the video, one officer grabs a rope in an attempt to lasso the animal, telling onlookers: "I've roped a couple horses in my day."

After a three-hour pursuit, at around 7:15 a.m. officers were eventually able to corner the zebra in a driveway and coax it into a transport trailer before returning it to its owner.

"We are happy to report that no injuries or property damage were suffered by the animal or anyone on scene," police said, adding that the lack of traffic at the time allowed officers to attempt multiple methods of regaining control of the animal in an effort to minimize injury to the zebra and the public.

A zebra on the run in Prescott, TN (near Cookeville) is now safe. But man... what a wild morning 🦓
Thanks to Ashley Francis for the picture! pic.twitter.com/LhHR4XZmAe

— Jennifer Waddell (@JenniferWFox17) May 7, 2021

Ashley Danielle Francis, a Prescott South teacher, told WSMV-TV that she noticed the zebra while driving to work, calling it the "craziest thing I ever think I've ever seen in this town."

Taking to Facebook, Francis wrote: "One thing I'd never thought I'd see on my way to work this morning."

Nearby Prescott South Elementary School warned families of the escapee zebra in a Facebook post. "Good morning Prescott Families—There is a zebra on the loose in the Prescott area. It escaped a truck, was tased, and is mad. Do not approach. (Yes, really)" the school officials said.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency told WTHR that Tennessee state law allows people to own zebras. The law views the animal in the same category as horses, with their regulation falling under the Department of Agriculture.

It's not the first time an exotic animal has been spotted on the loose in an area where it doesn't belong.

On the night of May 9, a tiger caused panic in a suburban Houston neighborhood when it was spotted prowling the streets.

Footage of the animal, seen wearing a collar around the front yards of Fleetwood, was shared online by stunned neighbors who said they had no idea a tiger was living in their midst.

Several residents shared videos of the animal casually prowling across front yards.

In one video, the camera pans to show a man appearing to hold a gun outstretched as he coaxes the tiger to safety.

Speaking to Newsweek, one man said his parents' leafy suburban neighborhood would be "literally the last place on earth I would expect to find someone with a tiger."

Concerned neighbors called Houston Police to report the sighting around 8 p.m., police allege.

One man, later identified as Victor Hugo Cuevas, 26, was seen bundling the Bengal tiger into his white Jeep Cherokee and driving off.

The following day, Cuevas was taken into custody as police revealed the suspect was out on bond facing murder charges at the time.

Cuevas was later charged with felony evading arrest for fleeing from patrol officers.

zebra
File photo: A zebra stands motionless in the sun at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois. Raymond Boyd/Getty Images