HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WATE) — An emu led police on a ‘wild goose chase’ in Roane County on Wednesday, only to escape captivity again the next day.
Roane County resident Harry McKinney and his family have two emus, MeeMoo and MeeMee, that live on their farm.
According to McKinney, crews were logging nearby when MeeMoo was “spooked” and jumped over the seven-foot fence. The emu managed to escape and ran through Harriman.
McKinney said he tried to follow MeeMoo but soon lost sight of the bird. So, McKinney went to social media and asks the community to help find him. The post gained traction as more people worked to help return the emu to its rightful home.
“Immediately we were flooded with private messages with, you know, ‘Hey your emu is in my backyard and then we got all of these videos,” McKinney told WATE.
Steven McDaniel caught video of the emu running from Harriman police as he was outside with his dog. He explained that he went to the top of the hill where he saw four police cars stopping in the middle of the road with their lights flashing. That is when he saw the emu.
“Cop cars just, blue lights going, going right in front of my house about three miles an hour,” McDaniel said. “Then one of the cops stopped next door and talked to the guy next door and the guy just started like… laughing hysterically, I could hear him from my house.”
There were also people at a restaurant nearby who came outside to watch the chase. According to McDaniel, the chase seemed to be going about 20 mph in his area.
“Everyone in the area got their own private video for this,” McKinney said.
McKinney said he and his wife managed to follow tips from information given to dispatch, including the videos that showed MeeMoo going to landmarks in the area. According to McKinney, Harriman Police Department told him that officers clocked MeeMoo’s speed at 40 mph.
McKinney was able to get MeeMoo from a Victorian home in Roane County.
“We were terrified that he would get hit by a car and somebody would hit him with a tranquilizer dart, that he would hurt himself in the chase,” he said.
According to McDaniel, the video of the slow-speed chase is good for the community, especially with the serious news that has hit Tennessee recently.
“There’s been a lot of comments about just how, how funny it was and you know, everybody’s wanting to meet the emu now… couple minutes of life that was… it was well worth it just to take a little video, you know,” McDaniel said.
McKinney is glad to get his emu back and even emphasized that their seven-foot fence is now a nine-foot fence.
For those unfamiliar with the animal, emus are large flightless birds native to Australia. It is the second largest bird to the Ostrich, which it somewhat resembles, according to the Smithsonian Institute. The institute adds that Emus are typically around 5’8″ and weighs between 110-130 pounds.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture explains that ratites, which include Australian Emu, South American Rhea and African Ostrich, are raised on farms in the state for their meat, oil, leather, and feathers.