A zebra escaped from a ranch in Florida — so its owner shot and killed it.
Residents in Callahan, Florida, spotted the animal — native to southern and eastern Africa — grazing and running through neighboring yards Wednesday.
“All of a sudden we see a zebra trottin’ down this road, and it gets to this corner and it stops and feeds,” Jenee Watkins told WTLV-TV News, pointing to the spot where the zebra paused for what would be its last meal.
“And, then cop cars come zooming, the zebra runs across this yard,” Watkins said, pointing to the yard across the street, “all the way back there, into that back field.”
“That’s when a truck comes zooming,” she recalled. The owner arrived.
“I’m standing there and he shot the zebra and the zebra fell,” said Watkins, who didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.
Stephen Young, who also saw the zebra roaming freely, told WTLV-TV that it “just dropped” after it was shot. He wondered why the animal had been killed rather than captured.
“They coulda took a horse and lassoed it like they do at the rodeo or something,” Young said. “They had it cornered, either he had to go in the pond and if he went in the pond they could of got in there and roped him, got him around his neck.”
A statement from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said that zebra “was eventually put down by the owner due to public safety concerns.”
The zebra had been living at Cottonwood Ranch, which is a local cattle ranch and event space, according to Karen Parker, a spokesperson for the FWC.
It is unclear how the zebra came to live in Callahan, but the owner did not have a permit for the exotic animal, Parker said.
An investigation into the incident is underway and Parker could not say whether the FWC would press charges.
“We deal with all types of captive wildlife,” Parker explained.
When asked if she’s had to respond to any zebra incidents, she said, “not recently, I don’t even remember dealing with zebra as a matter of fact.”