Zebra on Indiana farm freezes to death

A zebra that lived on a farm in Indiana died after authorities say it became caught in a fence and wasn’t able to seek shelter from the cold.

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The Carroll County Sheriff's Office responded to the farm just north of Delphi, Ind., just before 8 a.m. Wednesday. Deputies found a zebra dead in the field, said Sheriff Tobe Leazenby.

The zebra’s back hooves had become stuck in a fence, Leazenby said. The zebra likely panicked and took deep breaths as it tried to free its hooves, causing subzero air to freeze in its lungs and make it impossible to breathe, Leazenby said, citing state animal welfare and veterinarians’ assessment of the scene.

"It was just a freak accident," Leazenby said. "There does not appear to be any neglect on the part of the owner."

Other animals on the farm, including kangaroos and another zebra, appeared well cared-for, Leazenby said.

When the deputies' investigation is complete, the case will be sent to the Carroll County prosecutor's office for review, which Leazenby said is standard practice.