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Zebras Escape Circus, Run Loose In Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) -- A pair of zebras that escaped from a circus and went running through West Philadelphia have been recaptured.

Officials from the UniverSoul Circus confirm the zebras got loose around 2 p.m. Sunday outside the Mann Center for the Performing Arts near 52nd Street and Parkside Avenue.

Residents of the city took to social media to post photos and video footage of the animals running through the streets.

Gerry Wilkinson was with his wife and his daughter driving south on City Avenue near Conshohocken Avenue when they spotted one of the runaway animals.

"In the center barrier, right past our car, runs a zebra," Wilkinson said. "I've never seen a zebra on City Line Avenue. Even people who drink probably have never seen a zebra on City Line Avenue."

Wilkinson says as many as ten Philadelphia police cruisers, their lights flashing, trailed the zebra by about a half-block.

Anna Garvin of Upper Darby saw the loose zebra as well: "It was by Lord and Taylor and it came from around there and it shot right past me. It went shot right across and I was like is that a zebra?

"I thought my mind was playing games on me. We passed him and I was like is that a zebra, for real for real?"

Both zebras were safely corralled a short time later with no injuries.

Police said on their Twitter account at about 3 p.m. Sunday that the zebras were "in custody" and — in their words — "are already sporting old-timey prisoner getup ahead of trial and sentencing."

Marianne Bessey of Animal Activists of Philly spoke about the zebras' mentalities. "They saw a chance to escape, took a run for it and then ended up in traffic and people probably honking at them and almost causing accidents, if they didn't cause accidents, so overall it's a horrible, horrible experience."

PETA Foundation Counsel Rachel Mathews released the following statement in response to the escape of the two zebras:

"Yet again, animals have escaped a circus and been chased through a city they never should have been taken to in the first place. UniverSoul needs to retire its animal acts immediately, and all kind families should refuse to buy a ticket to any circus that exploits animals. PETA is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate immediately to ensure that the animals are receiving veterinary care and have safe and proper enclosures."

An investigation is currently underway.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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