Police officers in Wazahachie, Texas shot and killed a rogue emu after it attacked an elderly resident last Wednesday. According to the Daily Light, seven officers and animal control experts were involved in a lengthy chase of the large bird through the Dallas suburb before they were able to corner it. The animal was first reported by a passing motorist, who mistook it for an ostrich. It is believed the animal may have escaped from a nearby farm.
Native to Australia, emus are the second largest birds in the world. Adult birds can reach up to 6.6 feet in height and sprint up to 31 miles per hour, making the birds difficult to capture. Although not typically violent, emus can employ a painful kick that evolved out of their need to keep natural predators at bay. Emu kicks are not something to take lightly—their powerful strikes can kill dingoes.
“These animals are extremely powerful,” animal control officer Warren Howell, who was involved in the pursuit, told CBS 11. “You always want to approach them from the rear. Because emus have hinged knees that lift up to the front they cannot strike hard to the rear.”
The officers were eventually able to contain the animal in a driveway after chasing it through several properties. Unfortunately, even a team of seven could not manage to take the emu down. Howell said he had been able to grab the bird and push it towards his truck, but the emu then kicked off the back of the vehicle and escaped. It was at this point that the bird came into contact with the property owner, Malcolm Brigman. A 90-year-old veteran of World War II, officials said that Brigman left his house to investigate the commotion and ran headlong into the emu. The animal, which police officers described as highly agitated by this point, then launched into an attack on Brigman.
Emus sport six-inch-long talons on their feet and defend themselves by jumping into the air and kicking its target on the way down. Brigman was hit in the head, stomach and arms while officers attempted to restrain the large bird. Confronted with the possibility that the bird could do serious damage to the elderly man, Howell advised police officers to shoot the emu.
“We used every form of non-lethal force up to that point that we had at our disposal. It was only when the citizen stepped out and was introduced into the situation. It was for that citizen’s safety from that point on,” Howell told the Daily Light.
Fortunately, Brigman only received minor injuries during the scuffle.