A zebra chasing a pony across a parking lot. Two men running through the streets swinging lassos. Just another Wednesday in Staten Island, apparently.
Yesterday, Razzi, a four-month-old zebra, and Casper, a 14-year-old pony, escaped from a Staten Island property after owner Giovanni Schirripa left their gate open. Around 9:20 a.m., local shop owner Zachary Osher captured video of the two animals running past his store. "About 30 seconds later," Osher said, "I saw two men in dark black suits carrying lassoes running across the street." By 10:00 a.m. police say they had apprehended the two animals a few blocks south of Osher’s shop and returned them to their owner.
According to the New York City Health Department, zebras can only be legally owned by zoos or petting zoos. Schirippa, who bought Razzi from a breeder in Wisconsin a few months ago, says he has a petting-zoo permit from an event he held for the Staten Island Boys Football League in October. The Health Department, though, has no record of Schirippa’s permit. “Health inspectors are investigating,” said a spokesperson, “and will make sure appropriate measures are taken once the circumstances are fully evaluated.”