DUBUQUE COUNTY – Pet owner Jerald Reiter disagrees with police accounts of exactly what happened when they accused him of driving drunk with a zebra and parrot in his truck.
Reiter says he was taking his pets to the Doghouse Lounge in Dubuque Iowa. That’s a place where pets are allegedly allowed inside. Reiter claims he wasn’t driving when Dubuque Police came and made him take a breathalyzer test.
The police department has a different story though.
“Our belief anyways is that he was, in fact, in operation of that truck,” Dubuque Police Officer Scott Baxter said. “I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and I’ve never encountered a zebra.”
Police said Reiter told them the zebra and the McCaw liked to ride in the truck.
Reiter says he is upset because of a photo that’s been leaked which shows his parrot and zebra in his truck after he was arrested. Reiter says people now think he abuses animals.
“To get accused for abusing your pets that you love is ridiculous,” Reiter said. “I don’t have any kids. My brother don’t have any kids. Everything’s our animals.”
Police say Reiter’s alcohol level at the time of his arrest was .148. The legal limit in Iowa is .08.
“It don’t take me nothing [to get drunk],” Reiter said. “I only weigh 150 pounds. Three drinks, and I’m toast.”
Reiter’s worried about his reputation being hurt as a farmer outside of Cascade.
Police say they were not the ones who took the picture of the farm animals Sunday night. They suspect it was a witness to the scene.
Listen to condensed audio of police radio traffic from the incident below.