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Police: Drinking man brought zebra, parrot along for ride

By Jack Maddox, CNN
May 23, 2012 -- Updated 0413 GMT (1213 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police in Dubuque, Iowa, say they found a zebra and a parrot in vehicle
  • John Reiter is charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated
  • His girlfriend, Vicky Teters, says of the animals: "We treat them like our kids"

(CNN) -- The charge is rather routine -- an Iowa man was arrested over the weekend, accused of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, according to a police report. What makes this case unusual are the passengers that police in Dubuque say were with him: a parrot on his shoulder and a zebra in the back seat.

"They love going for rides," John Reiter's girlfriend, Vicky Teters, said to CNN affiliate KCRG.

"We treat them like our kids. They come in the house, we take them outside and take them for walks. We take them for car rides," Teters told KCRG. "They go and get the mail with me."

Dubuque Police Lt. Samuel Baxter told CNN that quite a few people called in to alert the police about a "zebra and parrot trapped in a vehicle parked at a bar."

Officer Chad Leitzen described in his report what he saw as he arrived: "I did observe two white male subjects in the front of the vehicle. I also observed a zebra in the back seat of the vehicle and a parrot on the driver's shoulder."

Leitzen then conducted a breathalyzer test that he said Reiter subsequently failed with a blood alcohol content of .148. The legal limit in Iowa is .08, according to Iowa's Department of Transportation website.

Reiter was arrested Sunday and held overnight, while the zebra and parrot were taken safely to a friend's house.

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