Runaway emu leads police on chase, later dies

Runaway emu leads police on chase, later dies

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TEMPE, Ariz. -

Not your ordinary police pursuit. Tempe police chased a runaway emu through the streets on Wednesday.

The emu was someone's pet and escaped. Police officers had to call in experts from the Phoenix Zoo to catch the 6 foot tall, 85-pound bird.

They eventually captured the emu, but after all that running, it died of heat exhaustion.

“We’re used to getting called to loose dogs, but an emu? Outside the box. We tried to corral it the best we could, but we didn’t have the equipment or experience to do it,” said Tempe Police Commander Noah Johnson. "It was well over an hour... We worried about it getting out into the street causing an accident and really just the safety of the animal."

“This is really unfavorable conditions to be heat stressing in any form. We were trying to get the bird in a timely manner but he was elusive and we finally cornered him,” says Rich Sartor from Phoenix Zoo.

"We restrained him and we were waiting to get the trailer up to tuck him away, so we weren't having to sit on him, but in the course of that time period he died."

“It’s a lesson to all of us about the heat -- not only to people but animals, dogs and cats. Be vigilant that they are secure in this heat.”

The bird lived with its owner for 35 years, but couldn't survive being chased around on the hottest day of the year.

The owner of "Ichabod" told police he was heartbroken over the loss. It's not known how the emu managed to escape from his home.

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