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Charli the Emu arrived at the sanctuary on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. According to our sources, Charli traveled for 3 weeks and covered around 8 miles. When she was within 500 feet of the sanctuary, she was spotted by a board member, Nancy Kopach. While Nancy and her daughter, Lori, were watching over her, a sheriff's deputy arrived on scene. Nicole, the executive director of the sanctuary, contacted the sheriff's department to let them know the sanctuary was on the scene and going to bring her in. Not more than one minute after hanging up with the deputy on the scene, Nancy saw a vehicle pull in behind the deputy's car, tell him that she was a friend of the owner, and that she "didn't want anybody to get hurt, so she wished it was just shot instead of captured because they do fight." Immediately Nancy witnessed the sheriff's deputy pull out a weapon and shoot Charli twice. Nicole was walking to the scene when the shots rang out.
Some choice words were said to the heavens and everyone believed Charli was gone. Not more than 20 seconds later, Charli emerged from the tall grass walking towards the sanctuary! Nicole and Nancy acted quickly to secure the bird on the sanctuary's property. Charli was so incredibly sweet, Nicole was able to walk directly up to her and secure her. Nancy and Nicole carried Charli to the barn where they could assess any wounds.
"She had obvious gunshot wounds as we could see the blood on her feathers." During the exam, two separate bullet paths were found ... one through her right upper leg and one that entered in the front of her chest and traveled out the right side of her body cavity. The wounds were quickly cleaned and treated. Charli was then led to a clean stall for the night.
SonnyBoy contacted their exotic avian vet who directed them to proper care of the wounds. Over the next 48 hours regular wound treatment exams were performed. On Friday, October 4th, Charli developed a limp and Nicole, along with Colleen Jefferson and Claudia Jefferson Beckman, who had traveled to the sanctuary from Minnesota, loaded Charli up into a transport vehicle to take to University of Wisconsin at Madison Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The large animal department was made aware of the incoming patient and they prepared a stall for Charli.
Upon arrival, it became clear that Charli was not a typical emu. Dr. Sabrina Brounts, lead surgical veterinarian, was not sure what to expect. Emu's have a reputation of being "mean". Charli is the exact opposite. She craves human interaction and comfort. Team Charlie, which included Dr. Brounts, Dr. Sarah White, Dr. Kelly Shaw, and Dr. Kristi Bowers, quickly assessed her and ordered radiographs. Special species (exotic) vet Dr. Cameron Ratliff, performed an extensive examination and was equally impressed by Charli's temperament. Two distinct bullet wounds were found to have started healing well, although the wound in her upper leg was showing inflammation. Radiographs showed no extensive damage to any bones, organs, and no fragments. Road rash was also found on Charli's back.
Charli was given the "all clear" to return home after receiving a first dose of antibiotic and ointment on the road rash wound. The second dose of antibiotic will be given at the sanctuary. She will have restricted access to outside to allow for complete healing of her wounds.
Charli has clearly proven her will to live. Not only did she travel over three weeks through territory known to have wolves and coyotes, she survived TWO bullet wounds! She made her way to the sanctuary on her own, and the SonnyBoy Family will NOT let her down.
Charli will need a few things to make her new home perfect for her:
- A 15' x 30' chain link fence at least 6' tall will need to be installed off her barn stall. -- WE HAVE THE FENCING, STILL NEED THE netting
- Prima Lamp heaters will be added to the stall so that she can have added warmth through the Wisconsin winter. DONE
- Her UW vet bill will need to be covered as well as future medical visits to ensure she is growing up to be a healthy and happy emu -- STILL NEED
- Specialized food formulated for emu's will have to be ordered and kept on hand -- SHE LOVES FRESH VEGGIES AND FRUIT!