- Associated Press - Thursday, November 12, 2015

ODESSA, Del. (AP) - An emu that has been on the run for more than 60 days has prompted lockdowns at two Odessa-Townsend elementary schools.

Still on the loose, the runaway emu was spotted Monday near Spring Meadow Elementary School and Old State Elementary School, leading to a “soft lockdown” at both schools. Officials sent a letter alerting parents and saying students remained inside while normal activity continued.

Delaware Department of Agriculture spokesman Daniel Shortridge said no one is sure who owns the bird. Over the last week, authorities have received a growing number of calls from people who have spotted the bird or come close to hitting it.

The emu has eluded police and animal control officers, who are trying to catch it before it wanders into traffic and causes an accident. The Department of Agriculture asked law enforcement to shoot the emu if public safety is at risk. But killing the bird isn’t the preferred solution, Shortridge said.

Dan Stonebraker of 3 Palms Petting Zoo in Clayton said he plans to attempt to capture the bird using nets.

“I am getting frustrated,” he said. “Yesterday we were out there for a few hours and we got closer than ever. We had our hands on it, physically, twice.”

Emus are relatively safe unless they’re cornered, Stonebraker said. Officials warn residents not to get too close or threaten the emu due to its sharp talons.

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