Emu on the loose spurs unusual police chase in Isabella County

Photo of Angela Mulka

On Tuesday, when the Shepard Police Department received a call from Isabella County Central Dispatch for a loose emu in the village, they thought it was a practical joke.

But, when officers arrived to the area of the "escaped feathered animal" a big bird was, in fact, standing there.

Responders to the scene were shocked to see this second largest bird in the world frolicking through neighborhoods.

"We decided to follow it on its journey throughout the Village of Shepherd," the police department stated in a Facebook post. "Ultimately, it was captured by its owners on the northeast end of town. They stated that it left from their farm in Vestaburg yesterday."

No one was hurt in the chase. Born to run, emus have tiny, useless wings, but their legs are long and powerful. They can travel long distances at a fast trot and can sprint at 30 miles per hour and can jump up to seven feet. With good eyesight and amazing agility, emus can escape most any trouble, according to the San Diego Zoo.

For police, calls like a loose bird help balance the tough ones, said Police Chief  Luke Sawyer of the Shepard Police Department.

"We just came off three calls resulting in death in seven days ... so chasing a bird was a needed laugh," Sawyer said.

The emu, named Healy-Mu, was moved to a new home in Reed City on Wednesday, Sept. 1, where she "hopes to find her Prince Charming," according to the police.