Pittsburg A Pittsburg State University football player says an encounter this summer with a zebra at a Lawrence-area farm has ended his season.
Joe Windscheffel, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker and safety from Smith Center, said he had to move three female and a male zebra to paint a fence along a pasture line.
But in an unprovoked attack, the male charged him, bit his arm and would not let go. The animal was dragging Windscheffel by his arm when two of his fellow farm hands finally freed him.
He was left with a compound fracture on his forearm that required a plate and six pins. Windscheffel — who redshirted last season because of an Achilles injury — won’t be able to play for the Gorillas this season.
Through a family member, Windscheffel on Wednesday declined to comment or to identify where the incident happened.
“There are several people in the county with zebras,” Keith Dabney, Douglas County’s director of zoning and codes, wrote in an e-mail. “I was surprised to see that someone was injured by one.”
Dabney said county regulations do not prohibit the ownership of zebras like they do for other exotic animals — such as bears and members of the dog and cat families that are not customarily domesticated.
Peach Madl, whose family has zebras south of Baldwin City, said the incident did not occur at her farm. She has never seen a zebra attack a person, but Madl said she had heard males can get aggressive during a breeding season.
“They can be dominant,” she said.
Gary West, a Kansas State University assistant professor of zoological medicine, said zookeepers and veterinarians are often cautious when working with zebras.
“They can be aggressive,” West said.
As for Windscheffel’s injury, several sports Web sites on Wednesday pointed to the irony that a football player was injured by something with stripes. Referees are often referred to as zebras.
“If you ran with it, you could go with the fact that officials get blamed for everything that goes wrong,” said Frank Smysor, a Lawrence resident who has served as a high school football and basketball official for 37 years.
- The Associated Press contributed to this story