Police, Volunteers Capture Escaped Emu On Bonita

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Payson police dispatchers received a host of calls when an emu was spotted on East Bonita Street Friday.

"Someone called in and said an ostrich was loose," Payson Police Animal Control Officer Don Tanner said.

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Animal control officer Don Tanner led a group of volunteers in capturing this wayward emu in Payson Friday. The bird escaped from his fenced yard on East Bonita.

It was later discovered that the large, long-legged bird was the pet of a resident who lives on East Bonita, but cornering and catching an emu was a first for Tanner.

"I got the call around 10:50 a.m. that the emu was running loose on East Bonita, so I and a couple of police volunteers went over and cornered it," Tanner said.

Former Payson police officer Charlene Hunt, who now works for the Parks and Recreation Department, brought a horse trailer to the area to provide temporary housing for the emu.

"I was able to snare one of the legs and get it to the ground," Tanner said. "It had a good temperament. It didn't peck me or anything. It was a pet."

Dispatchers called the local radio station to find the owner of the escaped emu. By 2:30 p.m., Andrew Malinski claimed ownership of the bird.

"The owner said his kids left a gate open," Tanner said. "He apparently has a pair and the female escaped, but the male stayed on the property."

Although Malinski has a large yard and a pen for the emus, Tanner said anyone who owns an exotic animal needs to get permission from Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner.

"I don't see that there is any problem with him keeping two emus on that large of a parcel," Tanner said, "... as long as they can be secured properly."

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