MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- A Manhattan resident’s pet zebra is back at home after Animal Control officials say it got out of its enclosure and made its way to a nearby house.
Riley County police say they got a call at 1 AM Tuesday, April 24, 2012, from a man who lives on Whitetail Pass in Manhattan who said that he had a zebra confined in his garage. Whitetail Pass is located on the west side of the city, not far off of Anderson Avenue.
The caller turned out to be James Myers, a Fort Riley soldier. Myers spoke with WIBW Tuesday about his unusual encounter. He says he had a friend over at the time and they were standing in his garage talking when the zebra suddenly appeared.
“I was just hanging out with a friend and we were talking in the garage and in the middle of the conversation, he was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a zebra!’ And I turned around and there was a zebra in our garage just standing there. It was just standing there staring at us, just looking in the door and seeing what was going on I guess,” he said.
The duo captured their interactions with the zebra on their cell phones. Myers says his main concern was for the animal’s safety because of its proximity to Anderson Avenue, a heavily traveled road.
“I didn’t want it to go up on the road on Anderson and get hit by a car or run around the neighborhood. I didn’t want the police to have to be running around the neighborhood looking for a zebra so we just grabbed it and called them. I figured whoever’s zebra it was would want it back. I thought it belonged to the zoo. I wasn’t sure. I got some lettuce for it. I wasn't sure what zebras like to eat but I didn’t know if it was hungry,” he told 13 News.
He says his friend dialed Animal Control but had a hard time getting anyone to take the call seriously.
“He called them three times and they kept hanging up. Every time he’d say there was a zebra here, they’d just hang up on him. The cops said they just didn’t believe us.”
They finally called the Riley County Police Department and an officer came out with a bag of carrots. Police were able to get in touch with the zebra’s owner who came to pick it up.
Ron Lichtenhan, with Manhattan Animal Control, confirmed that the zebra is privately owned by a Manhattan resident. He could not release the owner’s name or address and did not know the zebra’s name or age. Sources tell WIBW that the owner lives in the same neighborhood where their pet was found. Lichtenhan could only say that it did not travel “a great distance.” He said the pet was being “temporarily housed” in Manhattan and somehow escaped its enclosure. No mischief was involved in the incident and the zebra was not injured. Police say they believe the owner also owns a farm near McDowell Creek Road.
James Myers says he will never forget his surprising visit from the zebra he dubbed “Stripes.”
“I’m happy that it’s home and that it’s safe,” he said.