The zebra's back hooves got stuck in fencing, which caused the animal to suffer in the below-zero temperatures
A zebra living at an Indiana farm died this week after the animal got trapped outside amid the freezing temperatures.
Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby confirmed that the zebra froze to death after his back hooves got stuck in a nearby fence on Wednesday, according to WTHR.
Because the zebra was trapped during the frigid weather conditions, the cold air eventually crystalized in its lungs, causing fatal internal damage, the outlet said.
Indiana resident Sonya Kendall witnessed the zebra’s lifeless body on the snowy farm and snapped two photos to bring attention to a potential case of what she described as mistreatment of their animals, which officials are currently investigating.
In one shot, another zebra appears to be by the dead zebra’s side, in efforts to help the trapped animal — but sadly, it was too late.
WARNING: Graphic photo below may be distressing to some readers
After receiving the call on Wednesday, the Carroll County Police Department consulted with a veterinarian from the State Board of Animal Health, who confirmed that the zebra died after the animal was unable to escape the cold and find warm shelter, WTHR reported.
Sheriff Leazenby also made a visit to the site and did not believe that the animals were being mistreated, according to WLFI.
He was able to determine that the farm — which also has another zebra on the property who survived the cold temperatures — had proper resources available for their animals, including shelter, food, and water, WLFI said.
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However, some other animals on the property, such as the kangaroos, were inside a shelter.
The police department is currently filing a report with the Carroll County Prosecutor’s Office to determine whether the zebra’s death was accidental or by neglect, according to WLFI.
The other zebra has been moved to a different location and the owners of the farm are currently taking more measures to ensure the rest of their animals remain safe during this arctic outbreak.
At this time, it is not clear whether the owners will be charged.
Representatives at the Carroll County Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.