June 6, 2007

Lower the flag, Boys

From the Shelbyville (IN) News:

6/5/2007 3:30:00 PM Email this article • Print this article
'Skippy' dies after being tranquilized
Kangaroo eluded search for two days

B.J. Fairchild-Newman
Staff Writer

A Shelby County kangaroo's brief taste of freedom ended on Monday when he died at his local home after being shot with a tranquilizer dart by a Hancock County Animal Control officer.

WISH-TV of Indianapolis reported that the 6-foot-tall marsupial named "Skippy" escaped from his rural Fountaintown home after two teenage girls opened his cage as a prank.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Department and the Hancock County Sheriff's Department then proceeded to hunt for the elusive animal after he was reported hopping down State Road 52 near the intersection of SR 9 in Shelby County. The search was called off late Saturday night when the animal was not spotted, and no one reported sighting the animal during the day on Sunday.

Misty Elliott, superintendent of Greenfield-Hancock County Animal Control, said her department received a call between 9 and 10 p.m. on Saturday after owners David and Sue Schutt reported the kangaroo missing.

Elliott said her department contacted an Indianapolis veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals and received information about the dosage of tranquilizer appropriate for a full-grown kangaroo and then joined the hunt, but the animal eluded authorities.

"We were told to use a premix of xylazine and ketamine, and we even loaded a lower dosage than the vet suggested," Elliott said.

Even though most people do not consider kangaroos as dangerous animals, Elliott said a kick from one could be lethal to a human.

"This is how they defend themselves," Elliott said. "They are extremely strong animals."

At 3:22 a.m. on Monday, the Shelby County Sheriff's Department received a report of the kangaroo again hopping down SR 52, and Greenfield-Hancock County Animal Control responded with their tranquilizer gun. Animal control officer Roger McKinney II was able to shoot the kangaroo with the tranquilizer. Elliott said that McKinney reported that the animal was groggy but still conscious while the officer and owner David Schutt loaded Skippy into the animal control truck for transport back to his Fountaintown home.

Elliott said the kangaroo was still alive when McKinney left the Schutt home, but the owners discovered him dead in his pen later Monday morning.

The Schutts did not respond to phone calls made to their home on Monday afternoon.

According to Dean Shadley, a wildlife conservation officer with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, no permit is required to own a kangaroo because they are not classified as "vicious or endangered."

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