A zebra on the lam from a livestock auction in central Tennessee on Friday prompted a blunt warning from a nearby elementary school.
“Good morning Prescott Families — There is a zebra on the loose in the Prescott area,” Prescott South Elementary School said in a Facebook post just before 7:30 a.m. “It escaped a truck, was tased, and is mad. Do not approach. (Yes, really).”
The animal was loose for roughly three hours in Cookeville, Tennessee, about 80 miles east of Nashville on Interstate 40, after it fled a livestock auction house on Cemetery Road that’s less than two miles from the school, the Cookeville Police Department said. Police officers as well as deputies from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office were called to help recapture it.
A middle school teacher spotted the zebra while driving in and snapped a few pictures.
“So PSMS, it’s real,” she said on Facebook. “One thing I’d never thought I’d see on my way to work this morning.”
Officers were dispatched to Triple W Livestock Auction just after 4 a.m. Friday in reference to an escaped zebra, police said. At one point, the animal headed about two miles east to Highway 111, just past the elementary school. The stretch of highway closest to the auction house is flanked by trees and a few small businesses offering construction equipment, RVs and mobile homes for sale.
But police said it wasn’t busy when the zebra made its great escape.
“Even though the zebra ran onto Highway 111, the lack of traffic at that time of day allowed officers to attempt multiple methods of regaining control of the animal in an effort to minimize injury to the zebra, the motoring public, and everyone on scene,” the police department said.
Officials also confirmed two officers “made unsuccessful attempts to deploy issued TASER devices to redirect or capture the animal.” The officers and the zebra were not injured during the chase.
The animal was cornered and put in a trailer at 7:15 a.m., police said.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the dispatch center of the Cookeville Police Department at 931-526-2125.