Emu leads owners, police on wild chase in Franklin

FRANKLIN, Mass. — An emu on the loose was the talk of the town in Franklin on Monday. The animal is safe and back home.

An unusual call to say the least for Franklin Police, but thankfully one with a happy ending. A shocking sight in Franklin late Monday morning with a giant bird running in and out of traffic.

"It looked like an ostrich to me," said Sgt. Jason Reilly of Franklin Police.

Sgt. Reilly saw the bird standing in the middle of Lincoln Street while on patrol and radioed it in. But it wasn't an ostrich, it was Pippa the emu missing from her nearby home.

"We aren't really sure how she got out," said Kathy Gatchell, of Franklin.

And an emu on the loose isn't easily remedied.

"They are very difficult to catch," Gatchell said. "They are fast birds […] they aren't very friendly."

Once Sgt. Reilly found Pippa's family and got some backup, they managed to coax Pippa into the woods.

"And then the process began of trying to corral that thing," he said.

"We tracked her for an hour through the woods," Gatchell added. "She didn't let us get too close, as soon as we got close she'd run."

At one point the girls started to get a little desperate, so they actually pulled up emu sounds on their phones hoping to get her to come to them or at least calm her down.

"I just put it in my pocket and tiptoed over to her, and when I got close, I pet her and then I just jumped on her back and hoped for the best," said Ashley Gatchell. "And it worked out."

"We did some quick thinking and one of our officers took his sock off and put it over the emu's head," Sgt. Reilly said.

"Once you put a sock on their head it calms them down, and we were able to lead her home," Ashley said.

The Gatchell family says they're grateful for everyone's help.

"No one got hurt, the bird is safe," Sgt. Reilly. "One officer is down a sock."

The family actually plans to move the emu to Maine to a bigger enclosure this week.