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Escaped emu shot to death

Escaped emu shot to death

ROME, Ga. -- An emu's journey through a Rome neighborhood began with curious onlookers, as it strutted through fields and over streets after escaping from its owner.

But the animal's brief taste of freedom ended in death.

VIDEO | Lusty emu looks for love

Floyd County police spokesman Jerome Poole said that after animal control officers failed to take down the emu with tranquilizer darts, it was shot and killed at the owner's request.

Poole said that the emu was "thousands of addresses away" from its owner's property when animal control officers responded to the Kingswood Estates neighborhood on Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear how the emu escaped or who owned the animal.

Rome debating rules for in-town chickens

Rome debating rules for in-town chickens

ROME Ga. -- A north Georgia town is struggling to decide how to regulate chickens inside the city limits.

The Rome-Floyd County Planning Commission and city officials last year rejected a proposal to allow residents to have up to four chickens, provided they were kept in some kind of enclosure.

But citizens have pushed authorities to reconsider.

A draft ordinance is circulating in advance of a Dec. 6 Planning Commission meeting. It would allow chickens in four residential zones. Residents would have to get permits.

But City Commissioner Bill Irmscher doesn't want the birds in suburban residential zones. Commissioner Kim Canada is irked that the city clerk, rather than the City Commission, would control permits.

Assistant City Manager Sammy Rich said the draft is meant to start discussion.

Student-run business ships cattle embryos

Student-run business ships cattle embryos

ROME, Ga. (AP) - A student-managed business at a northwest Georgia college is shipping embryos taken from the college's cattle herd to South America.

The Rome News-Tribune reports that Berry Farms Genetics Enterprise is working to complete the $27,000 order.

Shannon Soafer, a senior from Rossville, the interim leader of the Genetics Enterprise, says the business will be shipping 99 embryos taken from the college's Jersey herd to a dairy in Argentina.

During the last five years, the genetics program has distributed embryos from the Berry herd to dairy producers across the United States and this marks the second international shipment.

Turtles make slow-speed escape from captivity

Turtles make slow-speed escape from captivity

SUMMERVILLE, Ga. -- More than 1,000 turtles have bolted -- slowly -- from their turtle farm in northwest Georgia.

Turtle farmer David Driver tells sheriff's officials he suspects vandals might be to blame for tearing down fences around his turtle ponds in Summerville.

Authorities say that allowed the turtles -- including snappers, Eastern paints and yellow-bellied sliders -- to bolt from the farm and make a beeline to nearby ponds and creeks.

Drivers tell The Chattanooga Times Free Press that about 1,600 of the 2,200 turtles escaped. He says his business involves selling some turtles to pet-growing operations and others to China.

Sheriff's officials are continuing to search for the turtles.

ROME: Helicopters to join fight against raccoon rabies

ROME: Helicopters to join fight against raccoon rabies

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Authorities say helicopters will drop packets of rabies vaccine over parts of two Alabama counties this week to try and stop the westward spread of the virus in raccoons.

Dana Johnson, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says there have been seven confirmed cases of rabies west of the Coosa River, which begins in Rome, so far this year.

The vaccines will reportedly be wrapped in fishmeal, which makes them attractive to raccoons. When the animals bite into the packets, they will break pouches that contain the vaccine.

Johnson said authorities are aiming to stop the spread of raccoon rabies west of the Alabama and Coosa river systems.

She said the vaccine isn't dangerous to pets if they ingest the baits.