DUBUQUE — It sounds like the beginning of a joke: A man, a zebra and a parrot walk into a bar.
This time it was no joke. That’s exactly what Jerald Reiter, 55, of Cascade, said he did Sunday night in Dubuque.
Dubuque police found the trio in the cab of Reiter’s pickup truck outside the Dog House Lounge at 1646 Asbury Road. Police charged Reiter with operating while intoxicated.
Reiter and Vickey Teter own the zebra and parrot as pets but the couple often takes the exotic animals out for a spin.
“We take them for car rides and they go and they get the mail with me. They are a big part of the family,” Teter said.
That’s why Reiter thought nothing of taking his beloved zebra and parrot with him when he went to the bar. The bartender did think something of it and told the trio to leave, according to Reiter.
Reiter said other bar patrons were shocked to see the animals and started snapping pictures. He believes one of those onlookers called police.
The couple understands why the whole thing may have seemed odd to people who are not used to being around exotic animals.
“It’s not everyday you see somebody that’s got a zebra or a parrot in the house,” said Teter, “and who knows tomorrow what might be in our house.”
Reiter admits he was behind the wheel of his pickup but argues the truck wasn’t in motion. Under Iowa law, that is still considered OWI.
Reiter says a friend drove his truck and the animals back to Cascade when police arrested him.