An Ohio farmer nearly had his arm bitten off by his own zebra on Sunday, according to the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office.
Ronald Clifton, 72, was burning brush on his farm in Circleville, just south of Columbus, when his zebra stallion became aggressive.
“I got attacked by a zebra,” Clifton told an emergency dispatcher in a recorded call.
“You got attacked by a what?” the dispatcher asked.
The zebra, which was the only stallion in a small herd of four to five female zebras, partially severed Clifton’s arm. When deputies arrived on the scene they found him on the ground, bleeding in the field with the aggressive zebra still circling “erratically,” according to the Columbus Dispatch.
“One of the zebra actually went up to our deputy, the first one that was on scene, and poked his head towards the driver’s side of his car and his window,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Jonathan Strawser in an interview with local TV network WSYZ. “The deputy had to hit the air horn to get the zebra to go away.”
Emergency workers were able to apply a tourniquet to Clifton’s arm but the zebra continued to charge at deputies, medical staff and even the victim’s family, who were on the scene.
After failed attempts to scare the zebra away, one of the deputies shot and killed the animal, NBC reported. Family members of the victim told local police that the zebra had shown signs of aggression in the past.
An incident report about the attack indicates that the zebra was trying to be “protective” of the other zebras in the field.
Clifton was taken by ambulance to Grant Hospital in Columbus where he underwent several operations to save his arm.
“Some damage to his arm, but we believe they saved it. So that’s a positive thing, because at first they thought that the zebra totally tore it off,” Strawser said.
A spokesperson for Ohio Health told CNN the man is in “fair condition” and remains in the hospital.
In Ohio, zebras are not considered dangerous or banned animals. The legality of owning zebras in Canada varies from province to province.
They are legal in B.C. and Ontario, for example, but not Alberta.
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