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Wales Online
Wales Online
Neil Shaw

Five-hour multi-agency rescue mission after therapy emu jumps fence

A runaway emu sparked a five hour rescue mission involving the police and RSPCA after it jumped over a fence and went on the run for a mile. Owner Jon Cardy, 54, was forced to cut short his first holiday in years after his pet emu Rodney escaped to go on an adventure of his own.

The 11-month-old bird jumped the fence at his home in Chedburgh, Suffolk, in the middle of the night on Thursday. Jon and his wife Laura, were taking their first holiday since the pandemic when they received a call from their pet-sitter at 6:30am saying Rodney was missing.

Without hesitation Jon jumped in his car and drove back from Northamptonshire to look for the fugitive bird - with the help of the RSPCA, RSPB and even the police. At around 11:30am he received a message on a community WhatsApp group, asking if someone had lost their bird, which he instantly recognised as Rodney.

He quickly reached Rodney who had managed to make it about a mile away from home and coaxed him to the car with some tempting treats. Jon said: “I put some of his favourite food down on the ground in front of me and he came to me without too much difficulty.

“He came over and he let me put my arms round his neck and cuddle him and stroke him and I managed to get him into the car to take him home. I think what happened was that there was a storm here on Wednesday night and he got spooked and must have hurdled over one of the fences.

“He was definitely here on Wednesday evening when our friend shut everything up and put all the animals to bed. But when she turned up early on Thursday morning he was not, so at some point in the night he went on an adventure.

“He has on occasion escaped before and gone on adventures but not quite that far and we’ve found him pretty quickly. This one was a bit more worrying.”

With fears about the effectiveness of his fencing, Jon has temporarily sent Rodney away to a neighbours who has a female emu. He said: “I am worried now that our fences are not high enough, so Rodney has gone to join Stacey, a female emu, at another house close by.

“Rodney is nearly a fully grown boy and they have a fully grown girl. They're both alone so we have set them up on an emu date and hope they get on well.”

The couple took in Rodney when he was just two-weeks-old and grew up in their kitchen, moving outdoors when he got older. Jon and Laura’s house is full of other animals - including pigs, dogs, geese, a two-legged cat, a tortoise and lots of bunnies.

Many of their pets are used as therapy animals for people who are struggling with their mental health. Jon is a former consultant in anaesthesia and critical medicine, while his wife Laura used to be an NHS nurse.

Jon added: “My wife and I are trying to help people with broken minds. We tame as many of our animals to be pets of therapy or emotional support animals. Between us we have 39 years of experience healing broken bodies but in the past four years or so we’ve switched to healing broken minds.

“Rodney makes a great therapy animal. If you can get past being completely weirded out by a six-foot bird with a massive beak right in your face, he is very cuddly and likes strokes and is good for the soul.

“He hasn’t got much between his big ears but he is lovely, very inquisitive, adorable and very friendly.”

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