Zebra, Pony Escape; Run Loose Through NYC Streets: Video

Thursday, 29 Nov 2012 10:58 AM

By Michael Mullins

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New York City has its share of raccoons, opossums, hawks, and, yes, even coyotes. But who but the most intoxicated of New Yorkers would ever see a Zebra running alongside a pony through traffic.

Well, it happened on Wednesday shortly after 9 a.m. when residents and business owners in Staten Island saw a 4-month-old Zebra named Razzi, short for paparazzi, trotting through several busy streets, followed by her pen pal, a 14-year-old all-white pony named Casper.

The animal’s owner, Giovanni Schirripa, 31, had left the gate of their enclosure open after feeding them. It’s the third time Casper has escaped, admits Schirripa, adding that Razzi was just following his pal’s lead.

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The four-legged escapees were apprehended by 10 a.m. by New York City police and returned to Schirripa.

Casper and Razzi’s escape was captured by local shop owner Zachary Osher, who noticed the pair running past the window of his Metropolitan Drape and Blind store.

“I was sitting at my desk at about 9:20 when I saw a zebra and pony run back and forth across the street, almost getting hit by a car . . . About 30 seconds later, I saw two men in dark black suits carrying lassoes running across the street,” Osher told the Staten Island Advance.

Schirripa denied Osher’s account, saying that at no time did anyone try to use a lasso in an attempt to catch the animals. Instead, Schirripa said, he and others were trying to stop spectators from chasing the animals, noting the wayward zebra and pony were coaxed to their pen with an offering of food.

Schirripa, who operates a petting zoo at an Octoberfest event for the Staten Island Boys Football League, purchased the zebra several months ago from a Wisconsin breeder for $6,000.

“I always wanted a zebra, ‘cause nobody else has one,” said Schirripa told the New York Times.

“It’s a lot harder than I thought . . . He’s a baby, he’s very skittish around a lot of people, but he’s getting better now.”

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The incident revealed that under health department regulations zebras can only be possessed by zoos and active petting zoos. So, Schirripa says he plans to relocate the striped animal to a New Jersey location where he owns several horses.

At the time of their escape, the animals were being housed together at Schirripa’s residence in a barn that resembled a single-car garage.



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