(Meredith) – An emu in Wisconsin is recovering from gunshot wounds after allegedly being shot by a deputy.

According to WISC, the Waushara County Sheriff’s Office received calls about an emu on the loose Oct. 2. It’s unclear where the bird came from, but that’s when the owners of Sonnyboy Animal Sanctuary stepped in. The emu was spotted within 500 feet of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary owners were prepared to capture and rescue the bird, but they showed up just moments too late – a Waushara County Sheriff’s deputy shot the loose animal.

Nancy Kopach, a Sonnyboy Animal Sanctuary board member, told WISC she saw the deputy shoot the emu twice.

Sonnyboy Animal Sanctuary owner Natalie Helmer arrived at the scene just about a minute later. They thought it was too late to save the emu until they saw her emerge from the tall grass.

“Here she comes walking through the tall grass, and it was like ‘There she is! There she is!’” Helmer told WISC.

Helmer and Kopach carried the emu – now known as Charli – home. They said she had obvious gunshot wounds and blood in her feathers.

They took Charli to a local animal hospital for treatment, and she is now recovering at Sonnyboy Animal Sanctuary – her new home. Charli lives alongside other animals at the sanctuary like pigs, horses, chickens and goats.

The sanctuary said while emus have a reputation of being aggressive, Charli is the exact opposite. She craves human affection and comfort.

WISC reached out to the Waushara County Sheriff’s Office and was told the sheriff was unavailable for comment.

You can read more about Charli’s story here on the sanctuary’s website. You can also click here to donate to Charli’s care.

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