Beloved Pet Emu Killed by Arizona Sheriff’s Deputies While Attempting to Put It in the Back of a Cop Car

“I would hope that they would never treat another animal so harshly and cruelly,” Stephanie Moilan says.

An emu is being mourned by its owner after Arizona sheriff's deputies strangled it to death while trying to wrangle it into a cop car.

While most emus can be found in zoos and safari parks, Richard the emu is a friendly neighborhood pet, who happens to escape her home every so often.

Stephanie Moilan tells Inside Edition she was gifted Richard and although she was hesitant at first, she grew to love the big bird.

Richard was originally thought to be a boy but later laid an egg and surprised everyone.

While Moilan loves her pet emu, the one problem she has is that Richard sometimes escapes her enclosure to go explore the neighborhood, but she always ends up back home. 

“People know Richard in the neighborhood because of her getting out before, they know she is gentle,” Moilan says.

Typically when Richard escapes the enclosure, Moilan just posts on Nextdoor or Facebook and finds her that way, but the last time she escaped, someone called the sheriff's office to report it. That would be the one time Richard did not make it home. 

Video shows deputies with the Maricopa Sheriff's Office getting a lasso around Richard’s neck before pulling her over to a police car. 

‘You can see her neck being constricted and being pulled against her will. They continued to do this, to strangle and torture her to death, until she collapsed while they tried to force her into the back of a squad car,” Moilan says.

Richard was just walking, Moilan says, and was not a threat to anyone until the deputies got involved.

Authorities defend the deputies' actions. “Deputies analyzed the situation and took into consideration that the emu had been loose before and had previously kicked a Deputy... in the leg. They attempted getting the emu out of the neighborhood unharmed but, unfortunately, they were unsuccessful,” the Maricopa Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Moilan says she wishes the situation had been handled differently.

“I would hope that they would never treat another animal so harshly and cruelly,” she says.

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