Pet emu dies after escaping from Tempe home, evading police

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Steve Bodinet

Posted on June 12, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 14 at 11:03 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Tempe police said the heat contributed to the death of an emu that officers tried to round up Wednesday afternoon.

Police officers tried to catch the bird after it escaped from its home near College Avenue and McKellips Road, but they quickly realized they needed more help and called the Phoenix Zoo.

Officers and zoo staff members chased the emu for about an hour before cornering it near College Avenue and Curry Road.

They restrained the emu and were preparing to load it into a trailer, but in the process the bird died.

The owner had the emu, named Ichabod, as a pet for 35 years. The owner was said to be distraught over its death.

Ichabod was considered a senior bird. Police said the stress of running around for an hour in the heat contributed to its death.

"It was, obviously, very hot out here and it was very difficult on the animal as it was difficult on our officers," said Cmdr. Noah Johnson with the Tempe Police Department.

There is no word on how the emu got loose.  

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