Floyd County police spokesman Jerome Poole said Animal Control responded to the scene after the emu was found “thousands of addresses away” from its owner’s property.
After Animal Control officers failed to take down the emu with tranquilizer darts, it was shot and killed at the owner’s request, Poole said.
Animal Control assistant chief John Satterfield said it’s rare to see escaped emus running loose in Floyd County, though he has seen it happen before.
“This is probably my second one,” he said. “We darted one several years ago — probably about 10 years ago — up on (U.S.) 27, and unfortunately it died.”
An emu, a relative of the ostrich, is native to Australia. The birds typically reach more than six feet in height, and can travel upward of 31 miles an hour at a sprint. Their diet consists of a variety of plants and insects.
Satterfield said most people who keep emus raise them as domestic livestock for food.
“Of course I’ve never tasted one or had the pleasure to eat one, but I’ve heard it tastes like steak,” he said.
Regardless, Satterfield said the incident was outside the range of regular day-to-day operations of Animal Control officers.
“You run into things like this, but it’s just not an everyday occurrence,” Satterfield said.