Missing Kangaroo Dies After Capture

Owner Blames Tranquilizer, But Officer Says Cause Of Death Unknown

The hunt for Skippy the kangaroo is over, but it was not a happy ending.

The 6-foot-tall kangaroo, which got loose from its owners over the weekend, died after it was captured Monday near Fountaintown, authorities said.

The cause of death for the kangaroo was not immediately known, said Kenny McConahay, an officer with the Greenfield/Hancock County Animal Control Department.

Skippy's owner, Sue Schutt, told 6News that the kangaroo died of an overdose of tranquilizer that an animal control officer used to capture it. However, McConahay said the amount of tranquilizer the officer used was only half of the recommended dose.

"When our officer left the scene, it was still alive and coming out. It was recovering," McConahay said. "The owners were advised to take it to a vet."

The animal control officers helped capture Skippy at 4:40 a.m. Monday not far from where he escaped after two teenage girls unlocked his cage Friday. Authorities were concerned that the Australian marsupial would put up a fight but he didn't, said Shelby County Communications Officer William White.

"I left the gate open and the lights on for him ... thinking he would come back," Sue Schutt said Sunday. Her family keeps several exotic pets on its property near Fountaintown, about 15 miles east of Indianapolis.

It was not immediately clear what the animal had done or eaten during its weekend on the lam, McConahay said.

Neighbor Jim Greider saw the kangaroo hopping toward his son's graduation party Friday night and thought it was a huge rabbit. Family and guests went out to watch the animal bound down the road in front of his house and a few motorists swerved to avoid it.

"I didn't even know my neighbor had a kangaroo," said Greider, 53.

Within minutes, sheriff's deputies were in the fields searching.

Pet kangaroos are rare, but the state does not require a permit to keep them, said Dean Shadley, a wildlife conservation officer with the state Department of Natural Resources.

"I can't imagine there are very many kangaroos in Indiana," Shadley said. "I've worked here for 33 years, and this is the first I've heard of one."

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