An Arizona woman is grieving her pet emu after a fatal encounter with law enforcement.
A rope was put around the neck of the female emu — named Richard — as police officers tried to put the bird into a squad car, Fox10 reported.
Stephanie Moilan said, “You can’t put a lasso around their neck, trying to yank on them and get them to do what you want them to do. You’re going to kill them.” She added, “It was so inappropriate. It was completely unnecessary.”
Ms Moilan called Richard, who was six years old, ”‘awesome.”
“You could hand feed her. I’d go out and pet her and cuddle her,” said Ms Moilan.
The incident reportedly transpired after her emu escaped. Ms Moilan’s neighbour, Michael Davis, said he saw the bird outside of his window: “He was just very calm, just wandering around. Not aggressive at all. Not threatening.”
Richard was “obviously in distress,” and she was “kicking and screaming” as officers tried to put the bird in the car, Mr Davis told 12News.
Then, Mr Davis said he saw the emu collapse after it seemed to choke: “I don’t think that it needed to happen the way that it did.”
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office told the outlet that officials arrived at the scene after they received a call about an emu on the loose. “During the corralling, The bird collapsed and died,” police wrote.
“She was just so much fun,” the grieving owner said. “I’m really going to miss her.” However, Ms Moilan contested the sheriff’s office description: “There was no corralling. I don’t think you need a lasso for that.”
“We are absolutely heartbroken and devastated,” she wrote on Facebook. “We loved Richard so much. She brought my family, friends and me so much joy, laughter, curiosity and love!! She didn’t deserve this!!”