Governments' Lighter Side

A bar story you won't believe

by Larry Conley
May 30, 2012

Police arrest an intoxicated driver, with a zebra and a parrot

Police officers often have unusual stories to tell, but this one from police in Dubuque, Iowa, is really, well, strange. See, it’s about this man, a zebra and a parrot who walk into a bar.

It sounds like the set-up for a joke, but that’s what happened May 20 at the Dog House Lounge in Dubuque, according to The Gazette. Patrons say 55-year-old Jerald Reiter walked into the bar with two companions: a zebra and a parrot. Reiter and his girlfriend own the exotic animals as pets and often take them out on the town, according to the newspaper.

The bartender, apparently, wasn’t hot on the idea of serving alcohol to animals. He asked the trio — man, zebra, parrot — to leave.

People in the bar, understandably, began gawking at them and snapping pictures. That’s how the police got involved. Reiter said he believes someone in the bar called police, concerned about the welfare of his pets.

Police found Reiter in the cab of his pickup truck, with a small zebra in the back seat and a macaw parrot on his shoulder. Officers said Reiter’s blood-alcohol level was 0.14 (the legal limit is .08). He was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Reiter admitted he was behind the wheel of the truck but said it wasn’t in motion. That’s still illegal under Iowa law.

The story ends well, though. Reiter says a friend drove his truck and the animals back home safely after he was arrested.

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