John and Jane Schreiner have a new pet, a month-old giraffe they are raising at their Spokane County home.
SPOKANE — John and Jane Schreiner have a new pet, a month-old giraffe they are raising at their Spokane County home.
Karson enjoys drinking milk and loves to scamper across the grass on the 13-acre spread he shares with five wallaroos and two kangaroos.
“He may be the only giraffe ever to be raised as a pet in Spokane,” John Schreiner told The Spokesman-Review.
Last week, the couple drove across the country, paying “a large, large sum” for the giraffe, which was born at the Natural Bridge Zoo near Roanoke, Va. On Friday, they brought Karson home after a four-day return trip.
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In about four months, they plan to move Karson to the 12,000-acre Schreiner Farms ranch in Klickitat County. There, the Schreiners have a menagerie that includes zebras, bison, camels and three adult giraffes.
The Schreiners breed and sell the animals. The biggest sellers to date have been wallaroos, a gentle mammal halfway in size between a wallaby and a kangaroo.
Karson’s job will be to breed with the female offspring of Bob, the Schreiners’ adult male giraffe.
John and his brother Joe, who co-owns the ranch, have been successful title insurance operators, with two offices in Oregon and 13 in Washington.
Animal breeders say there are fewer than 350 giraffes in zoos and in private possession in the United States. John Schreiner estimates there are fewer than 20 giraffe breeders in the nation.
Karson can expect a life span of up to 30 years. He belongs to the reticulated giraffe subspecies native to Somalia, in eastern Africa.
As far as the Schreiners know, Spokane County has no ordinance stopping them from keeping Karson.
“He’s not a carnivore, which is the one concern the county and states are right to control people from raising,” said John Schreiner. Giraffes are ruminants, eating leaves and grain, he said.
“I can’t see any reason we can’t keep him. He’s intelligent, gentle and a wonderful creature,” he said.