Woman "Terrified" After Being Chased by 2 Emus on Trail: "They Just Came Out of the Woods!"
The emus may have escaped from a local farm.
A woman in Midland County, Michigan, said she was shaken up after being chased by a pair of aggressive emus on a walking trail. "I was terrified," said Kate Buning. She encountered the two animals at about 9:30 a.m. on the Pere Marquette Rail Trail, where she was walking her dog, a pug mix.
"They just came out of the woods," she told MLive. Impressed by the novelty of the flightless birds, she took a photo. Then the emus began approaching her.
The birds quickly became aggressive and chased Buning for about half a mile. "It was terrifying," she told WNEM. "I literally was thinking, 'Really? Am I going to die? This is the way I'm going to die, being assaulted by emu?'" Buning thinks they were after her dog, who was "freaking out," she said.
At one point, she attempted to take an offensive posture to scare the big birds off. "Kind of like a bear technique," she said. "Make yourself big, throw stones at it. Because they just wouldn't stop coming at us."
When Buning reached a road access point, she called 911. "Poor lady," she said of the dispatcher. "I was really frantic." "There was no physical contact between the caller and the emus, so neither the caller or the emus were injured," Midland County Sheriff Myron Greene told WNEM. An animal control officer came out to search for the emus, with no luck.
Buning thinks the emus may have escaped from a local farm. She's walked the trail many times over the years and has seen a variety of animals, including coyotes, owls, and eagles. "I have encountered some things, but never anything like that," she told MLive.
The search for the rogue birds continues. Greene said last Tuesday that deputies were not able to locate the emus and have not yet identified a residence from which they may have escaped. Meanwhile, Buning's friends have been making cracks about the emu from the insurance commercials, asking if the birds offered her any coverage.
"Everybody at work has been laughing at me all day long," she said. "So, they did not. I probably would not have bought it. The technique was a bit aggressive."
These aren't the only problematic emus to engage law enforcement in recent weeks. Last month in Tennessee, an escaped emu named MeeMoo led police, its owner, and members of the community on a 20-mile chase. Harry McKinney, MeeMoo's owner, said the 6 ½-foot bird was spooked by the sound of nearby logging.
He ran for the family's fence, and after a few tries, he was able to get over it. McKinney saw the bird run at full speed, about 40 miles per hour, through the front yard. He knew he couldn't catch up, so he hopped in his truck to give chase.
"He took off down the highway," McKinney told USA Today. "I got on the highway and started to follow him but he was moving so fast that he actually lost me."
McKinney stopped at a nearby college and asked a police officer if he'd seen an emu. The officer said, "As a matter of fact, I have!" He joined the pursuit. More police, volunteer firefighters, and social media users were enlisted in the search before MeeMoo was tracked down eight hours later, 20 miles away.
As he drove MeeMoo home, McKinney posted a photo in which the bird seemed to be smiling. "I think that he would be happy if he understood the joy that he has brought to people," McKinney said. "You can see just from that selfie of me and him in the truck and going home that he absolutely enjoyed being followed by the entire town for eight hours."