What killed the runaway kangaroo? - FOX 13 News

What killed the runaway kangaroo?

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The investigation into what killed a kangaroo that escaped from a breeding farm in Lacoochee is reportedly over.

A spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told the Tampa Bay Times "There were no unusual circumstances surrounding the death of animal," and that kangaroo died of cardiomyopathy, or "excited delirium." Fox 13 News placed several calls to FWC throughout the day Saturday but none were returned.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office said deputies chased the kangaroo for several hours and shot it with multiple tranquilizer darts and a taser, but none of those efforts to stop it were successful. It remained on the loose until a resident tackled it.

"I decided if it came my way I was going to dive on it," Kevin Wheling said after the ordeal ended. "Then another deputy jumped on it. From there it was just a big dog pile after that."

Randy Stearns, an exotic animal expert at Dade City's Wild Things, said the stress from the chase and capture likely killed the animal.

"It's like a minor heart attack," he said. "A lot of times with marsupials, even deer or birds, it might not happen right away. It could be a couple hours even the next day before it shows and when it starts showing, it's usually too late."

Stearns said authorities should have called in a kangaroo expert like himself for advice; he think this could have saved the animal's life.

"It's very upsetting because any time the animal passes away and it's not natural causes of course it's going to be sad," Stearns said.

The Sheriff's Office said it's saddened by the kangaroo's death, but wouldn't comment further. Deputies last week made it clear this was the last thing they expected.

"Ultimate goal was under no circumstances did we want to have to put down the beautiful animal," Deputy Gene Smith said following the chase.

John Chatfield, the owner of the kangaroo facility from which the animal escaped last Sunday, is facing charges of not properly caging the kangaroo; Chatfield did not return our multiple calls for comment.

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