Zebras Escape Trailer, Former Rodeo Clown Helps Capture

Four zebras broke free from a trailer they were being transported in, near Bend, Washington on Sunday April 28. Kristine Keltgen purchased the zebras from a farm in Washington State and was transporting them on Interstate 90 to a petting zoo she runs in Anaconda, Mont. She became aware that the latch on the zebras’ trailer was loose. She stopped to fix the latch and the zebras “bolted out.” The escape occurred near a highway exit, and nearby residents, police officers and volunteers rallied to corral them back to safety. One person had specific expertise in wrangling loose animals. He is David Danton, of Mount Vernon, Wash., who worked for 15 years as a rodeo clown. Danton and his wife, Julie, were driving home from a cattle drive in eastern Washington when they stopped to assist in the recapture of the zebras in North Bend, Wash., 30 miles east of Seattle. “It was kind of divine intervention — we happened to be in the exact spot and had the knowledge,” Julie Danton said in a story in the New York Times. “Animal control showed up to help, police showed up and every neighbor showed up to help — or just look at the zebras — because it’s not every day you get zebras in your neighborhood,” said Megan Dammann, a North Bend resident. Dammann said she raced to the area after seeing a post about the zebras on a community Facebook page. Former rodeo clown Danton said he built makeshift gates out of rope, metal panels and a garden hose, and got two of the zebras to run into a pen on a horse farm. Then, he said, he helped build an “alleyway” out of metal panels to usher the zebras safely into a large trailer. While the Dantons helped corral two of the zebras on a horse farm, residents nearby helped shoo a third zebra into a fenced-in yard and then shut the gate. The fourth zebra had not been captured as of Monday the 29th of April.