Charli the emu recovers from gunshot wounds at Sonnyboy Animal Sanctuary

Charli, an emu, is recovering from gunshot wounds after being shot twice by a Waushara County sheriff’s deputy, according to Sonnyboy Animal Sanctuary owners.

Owner Natalie Helmer said the Waushara County Sheriff’s office responded to calls of an emu on the loose. A board member of the sanctuary was also at the scene and told the deputy that Helmer was bringing supplies to rescue the exotic bird.

“A van pulled up behind the cop car and said (the owner of the emu) was a friend of hers, and she didn’t want anybody to get hurt, so she wished it was just shot instead of captured because they do fight,” Nancy Kopach, a Sonnyboy Animal Sanctuary board member said.

Kopach said she saw the deputy shoot the bird twice. Helmer arrived at the scene shorty after. The two women carried the bird to the barn and tended to the wounds.

“She had obvious gunshot wounds. We didn’t know where, but we could see the blood in her feathers,” Helmer said.

News 3 Now reached out to the Waushara County Sheriff’s office and was told the sheriff was not available to comment today.

Helmer took the emu to UW Madison Animal Hospital.

“It will take time to heal and get back and that gives us time to understand,” said Colleen Jefferson, a Sonnyboy Animal Sanctuary board member. “We got to make some changes now.”

Helmer said the previous owner surrendered Charli to the sanctuary.

This is the first time Natalie and Ryan Helmer have rescued an emu. Charli is joining their animal rescue of mini pigs, horses, goats and more.

“Charli is mesmerizing,” Ryan Helmer said. “I think Charli is here to stay.”

The Sonnyboy Animal Sanctuary is run by donations. There are opportunities for anyone to sponsor animals on their website.

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