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Giraffe Dies of Cardiac Arrest After Escaping from Circus

Barcroft Media /Landov(IMOLA, Italy) -- A giraffe shocked townspeople in Italy Friday when it sprang free from a local circus and ran through the streets for four hours.  Police managed to tranquilize it, but it died shortly after of cardiac arrest.

The giraffe escaped from the Rinaldo Orfei circus in Imola, Italy, the BBC reported.  Police chased the 16-foot, 2,000-pound giraffe as it galloped through the streets during rush hour, scaring passersby and damaging vehicles with its hooves.

Photos show police chasing the giraffe down a highway and a group of people desperately trying to push the giraffe into a cage using a ladder.

Two giraffes died at a zoo in Lodz, Poland in May after vandals broke in and threw benches and other debris into the animal cages, the BBC reported. One giraffe died of a heart attack shortly after the break-in and the other was found dead the next day from stress.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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