When a petting zoo zebra escaped from its trailer while at a truck stop in Tennessee, authorities needed the help of a miniature donkey to help lure the zebra back into the trailer before anyone got hurt.
John Griffin was driving a baby zebra named Marty to the petting zoo he runs in Florida. When Griffin stopped at a truck stop in Columbia, Tennessee just after midnight, Marty somehow got out loose.
Marty was wondering around the truck stop parking lot and a nearby cemetery. At just three-months old, Marty already weighs 250 pounds.
“I thought, ‘What the heck? How am I ever going to get this guy back inside that trailer?” Griffin recalls.
Police, county officials, and deputies from the Office of Emergency Management were all called to the scene in the middle of the night. With a major interstate nearby, there was genuine concern Marty would get away and run into oncoming traffic.
“It would be worse for a passenger vehicle – likely cause injury,” explains Mark Blackwood of Emergency Management.
Fortunately, Griffin was also traveling with a miniature donkey named Buttercup. They used Buttercup to help get Marty’s attention and lure him back into the trailer.
Roughly four hours after his scape from the trailer, Marty was safely returned. No one was hurt during that time and Griffin was eventually able to get Marty and Buttercup home to Florida.
“We are glad to be back thanks to all the great work from law enforcement in Columbia,” Griffin
said afterward. “Buttercup said she could have done it by herself, but I kind of doubt that.”
Blackwood says this isn’t the first time he’s been called in to help wrangle an animal that’s gotten loose. But Marty is definitely the most exotic animal.
“I’ve done horses and cows and deer and everything else, but never a zebra,” said Blackwood.. “So check that off the bucket list.”