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VIDEO: Pet Zebra Attacks 72-Year-Old Ohio Man, Gets Fatally Shot After Charging Deputies

Circleville, OH – A 72-year-old Ohio man nearly had his arm bitten off by one of his pet zebras last week, according to investigators (video below).

The harrowing incident began shortly before 5:45 p.m. on March 11, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

That’s when 72-year-old Ronald Clifton called 911 from his field, begging for help as he bled out on the ground.

“I got attacked by a zebra!” Clifton told the dispatcher, according to audio recordings of the call.

“You got attacked by a what?” she asked. “A zebra?”

The dispatcher sent first responders his way as she gathered more information.

“Did he bite your arm?” she asked Clifton.

“Oh, hell yeah!” he responded.

“Okay,” the dispatcher continued. “Is it still attached?”

“I don’t think so,” he said later.

Clifton told her he needed someone to “come before it gets me again” and that he didn’t have the strength to get up off of the ground.

The first Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) deputy who arrived at the scene said he sounded his sirens and air horn to scare off the “hostile” zebra as he drove into the field because it was charging his patrol vehicle, CNN reported.

The tactic worked just long enough for him to bail out and secure a tourniquet around Clifton’s arm, according to the police report.

He also managed to get Clifton into a nearby ambulance for further treatment.

Meanwhile, the male zebra continued to approach the group still gathered in the field, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

“He turned his back on him,” one of Clifton’s family members told the deputies.

A woman at the scene said the male zebra is the only one out of the group who is aggressive.

When the zebra tried to approach the ambulance, one of the deputies asked Clifton’s family to chase it off, bodycam footage showed.

“Is there a way for you to keep him back?” the deputy asked. “We’re trying not to shoot him.”

A man chased the zebra off with a stick, but that only worked for a moment.

“Shoot the dumb [expletive] if you have to!” Clifton’s son-in-law told them at one point, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Moments later, the zebra began charging at them, and one of the deputies killed it with a single shot.

The deputies immediately began apologizing to Clifton’s family, but they agreed that the deputies did not have any other options but to put the aggressive animal down, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The deputies noted in their report that the male zebra’s behavior may have been due to him attempting to protect a herd of female zebras who were with him in the field, according to CNN.

Clifton was rushed to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center with severe injuries and has undergone multiple surgeries, NBC News reported.

He will need many more, but it is believed he will be able to retain his arm.

Clifton was listed in fair condition, according to CNN.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture does not classify zebras as wild and dangerous animals and residents are therefore legally able to own them as pets.

Clifton has owned the small zebra herd for “quite some time” and there had not been any prior problems with aggression, the PCSO told NBC News.

Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content:

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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